No one has to return to crime

Statistics about the probability of returning to criminal activity after release from prison are sometimes discouraging. But whether you are a concerned onlooker or a former inmate striving to do the right thing, there is a practical , deeply Christian way to improve these statistics.

Genesis, chapter 1, in the Bible tells us that ''God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.''n1 The Gospel of John speaks of ''the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.''n2 And the Apostle Paul writes that ''the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.''n3 Might these passages indicate that in God's kingdom there is really only one ''statistic'' - every one, all, 100 percent? His kingdom is entirely good, and there is no record of evil there, once or repeatedly.

n1 Genesis 1:31.

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n2 John 1:9.

n3 I Corinthians 12:7.

This doesn't mean we can ignore crime or that it will go unpunished. Divine law punishes all that would oppose it. Yet as we discern the truth of God's spiritual creation and realize that it is truth, this reality can increasingly be brought to light in the lessening of repeat criminal offenses.

Through prayer we can come to realize that God overrules probability and chance by His allness, by the fact that, as divine Mind, He knows all, and as infinite Principle, He controls all. The belief in probability, which seems so widespread and ingrained, need not influence someone turning from crime or discourage those who pray for the lessening of crime. God's nature, and therefore His control, is not dualistic. God is all good, and so is His offspring man, and this is a vital point in dealing with crime statistics through prayer.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says of His singular power, ''God's law is in three words, 'I am All;' and this perfect law is ever present to rebuke any claim of another law.''n4 With no diverging or conflicting elements, with everything controlled by all-knowing divine wisdom, God's kingdom includes certainty, not probability.

n4 No and Yes, p. 30.

An initial step for one striving to overcome criminality is to believe and trust in God's allness, to nurture a love for His goodness. Then he needs to put into practice that faith and love. To love God is to love good, and we must make a love of good our priority. Each individual can uniquely express his or her love of good. This might include looking for ways to help others instead of seeking to benefit oneself at the expense of others, and being supportive of others rather than taking advantage of what appears to be their weaknesses.

Would you rather be governed by unintelligent, merciless probability or by an all-loving God? We take a stand for being governed by God when we express the qualities that come from Him. We may express patience, kindness, humility, and unselfishness in small measure at first, but to the extent that we do express them, we are being the man God created. And when we act as God's man, we avoid becoming a statistic; we're protected by His supremely powerful law.

When we indulge in criminal activities, we are turning away from God and His protection. But when we strive to express His goodness, however haltingly at first, we accept His higher law and loving protection.

This article is too brief to address all of the challenges facing former inmates, but each one can be met through a growing love for God, good. Whatever the challenges, they cannot make one a prey to probability when one knows that God is All and His all-powerful government is certain.

We can't fool God - we feel His protection as we are sincere. And when we are , our lasting freedom from prison won't compare to the sweet release we find from imprisoning misconceptions about our own true, Godlike nature. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:16, 17

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