Feeling safe

For many people, the possibility of being victimized by crime lurks relentlessly in thought. This can lead to a state of fear that paralyzes normal activity (''I never go out at night anymore''). It may provoke a taut, shotgun-poised attitude of determination to pick off the criminal before he gets to us. Or it may result in a fatalistic posture of resignation (''If an intruder wants to get into my home, he'll find a way no matter what I do to deter him'').

It might appear that insecurity is an inescapable reality of the times, something we must learn to live with. But the Bible says otherwise. It shows how an understanding of God's infinite power and presence dispels the specter of vulnerability in any age, replacing fear with confidence in our Father's everlasting care. It illustrates that the security of our real, spiritual identity is never at the mercy of material circumstances. Man, as God's image, is free from danger, and we can prove this in our lives.

The Scriptures brim with promises and proofs of the superiority of good over evil, of spirituality over materiality. Regardless of how great the fear of harm , how deep the physical and mental scars of a past incident, or how threatening the circumstances we face, the timeless message of the Christ, Truth, offers us hope and healing. It releases us from the tyranny of fear, frustration, anger, helplessness. It speaks to us with the calm assurance that our ''life is hid with Christ in God,'' n1 as St. Paul knew, and that the goodness of God can never be penetrated or eclipsed by any phase of evil.

n1 Colossians 3:3.

How well Christ Jesus understood safety to be the eternal state of man's being! He discerned the kingdom of heaven - immortality, perfection, harmony - where others beheld danger. He recognized divine Love's absolute control over all. And he knew man's actual selfhood to be the sinless spiritual expression of his Maker. Jesus' spiritual insight brought healing and the awareness of safety to those who sought his aid.

We can follow the Master's example by perceiving the kingdom of heaven where the face of crime appears. We can identify man, not as either criminal or victim , but as the evidence of the divine nature and being. Man as God made him cannot be the agent or the object of lawless materiality. He is inaccessible to attack, immune from destruction, because God is his Life.

Like Jesus, we can recognize evil, not as man, but as an impotent, identityless pretense to power. Thoroughly denouncing its claims to reality, on the basis of God's allness, we will begin to realize how perfectly safe we already are. There's no better method of crime prevention.

We have a responsibility, though, to live in obedience to the law of good in order to realize the protection of that law. Are we trafficking in criminality by cheating on tax returns, harboring racial prejudice, living under a self-made standard of sexual morality? Any ungodlike thought or action weakens our defense because it is a denial of our Christlike nature, wherein our security lies.

On the other hand, spirituality, purity, innocence, honesty, humility, strengthen our ability to demonstrate our exemption from evil. A life of consecration to good, God, is its own protection, and a blessing to others as well. Speaking of the need to keep our thought filled with Truth and Love, with the consciousness of God's presence, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.'' n2

n2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210.

Let's adopt the spirit of Christliness that defeats the fear of crime. Then, whether we're on a dark city street or alone in a secluded country house, we'll know better than to believe we're vulnerable mortals. Reflecting the impenetrable goodness of God, can we feel any other way but safe? DAILY BIBLE VERSE In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Isaiah 54.14

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