As two major nations - the United States and France - celebrate their independence this month, it is perhaps a good time to think about and pray for the freedom of all mankind from repression.
Repressive regimes would deprive citizens of hope and of any expectation of freedom by filling them with fear for their own and their loved ones' lives and by convincing them that violence and lawlessness have become institutionalized. There are also less institutionalized forms of repression that can touch even individuals who live in democracies. These include any cruel domination or personal control of one individual by another - in the relation of husband and wife, for example, parent and child, supervisor and employee.
Repression, in whatever form, would inhibit or destroy one's individuality by removing one's freedom to express it. On a national scale, repressive policies operate by fragmenting national unity, leading people to believe that they are powerless before a monolithic evil. On the personal level, a repressive relationship leads one to feel cut off from others, perhaps even from God, by a single, forceful personality.
The answer to all forms of repression lies in the spiritual fact, basic to the teaching of Christian Science, that God, good, is the only Mind of man. In reality as God knows it, there are not many mortal minds, some of which would dominate others. Nor is there a single, monolithic mortal mind that has power over us. There is only one totally good Mind, and man is the idea of this Mind, completely spiritual and inseparable from his divine source.
When we realize that this is our own true identity, we comprehend that our unique individuality is securely established in Mind. Our outward achievements may illustrate this individuality; but take away our degrees, our social or political positions and other accomplishments, and this identity would still be with us. No mortal power can take away the spirituality that is the very fabric of our - and everyone's - true being. Knowing this begins to free one from the belief that another can deprive him of freedom to express the nature bestowed by God. This knowledge has a practical effect, too.
For instance, people who were angered by Christ Jesus' teachings once tried to throw him off a cliff. But the Bible tells us that ''he passing through the midst of them went his way.'' n1 Jesus' conscious unity with God freed him from his enemies. And later, his crucifixion and resurrection proved definitively that the power of Christ, Truth, defeats the repressive so-called forces of evil.
n1 Luke 4:30.
Jesus' poignant prayer at his crucifixion, ''Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,'' n2 illustrates an important point. We need to maintain a constant attitude of forgiveness toward the oppressors - toward those who are cruel to us personally as well as those who act wickedly on the world scene. In reality, both oppressors and oppressed are victims of the belief that because life and power are material and finite, there isn't enough good or opportunity for all.
n2 Luke 23:34.
Through a firm recognition of the oneness and infinitude of Mind and a determination to behold in each individual the true and perfect man God made, we will help to eliminate the oppressor's bondage to his finite beliefs. This is not making ourselves accept an evil situation. Instead, we are bringing the lawfulness and truth of the Christ to bear on circumstances so that the divine order may be made manifest.
The more we can anchor our thoughts in God and in our efforts to be Christlike, the more we will perceive man's true identity to be inextinguishable and entirely free from mortal elements. We need to affirm vigorously that Mind, God, is in complete control. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, tells us in Science and Health, ''The despotic tendencies, inherent in mortal mind and always germinating in new forms of tyranny, must be rooted out through the action of the divine Mind.'' n3
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 225.
We can prove that the tender care of this Mind is present and manifest through Christ. Our earnest prayers will help us and our world to progress toward the freedom and love that Christ imparts. DAILY BIBLE VERSE How hath the oppressor ceased!. . . The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked. Isaiah 14:4,5