RECENTLY, not far from here, a man inadvertently rode his horse into a marsh, where it became mired. All his efforts to free the animal proved ineffective, so a fire engine was called, and a rope attached to the saddle got the poor beast out. The firefighters even helped by hosing down the muddy rider.
No one would have advised the engine to back into the marsh next to the horse and try to help from there. It had to remain on solid ground to be of use. And so do we.
Sometimes we are invited to join someone in the mud and try to be of use there. Friends angry over perceived injustice, for example, may wish for us to join in their anger. Or someone involved in a mistake may desire us to participate. But to be truly helpful, we need to resist such appeals. We help by lifting.
As we look to our stance as helpers, we have to be sure our feet are on hard ground. An effective way to do this is to turn to God and approach the situation from the standpoint of God's spiritual law, recognizing that God, divine Love, is always at work.
Our means of perceiving God's presence in our lives is prayer. Prayer puts us on the solid ground of God's love, on the foundation of immovable spirituality that God, infinite Spirit, has established, and above any position we might humanly take.
We pray to know more of the facts of Spirit's creation and how they apply to the problem at hand, healing and correcting whatever needs redemption in our lives. We pray to be able to replace mere human efforts with the purifying ability of spiritual fact. We pray to acknowledge the sound foundation of God's loving understanding and to see how to replace the quicksand of human opinion with solid perception of His gracious harmony in any situation.
In Galatians, Paul gives some helpful guidelines for putting ourselves on a spiritual foundation. After listing a series of unhelpful or vicious attitudes, which he identifies as "works of the flesh, he writes, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
These qualities form tests with which we can measure our attitudes, replacing, for example, anger with joy and peace, hopelessness with faith, pride with meekness. Such spiritual regeneration keeps us firmly based in spiritual truth. And we can apply these qualities to correcting a problem at hand by practicing them in our outlook, talk, and actions.
In doing this we are not simply using well-known or well-intended ways of helping and healing. Spiritual resources lie beyond even the most well-intended human efforts and techniques. They are truly unlimited, because they are built on the spiritual facts of being as practiced by Christ Jesus, who based his healing on the supremacy, universality, and ever-presence of God. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in Miscellaneous Writings: "The unerring and fixed Principle of all healing is God; and this Principle should be sought from the love of good, from the most spiritual and unselfish motives.
This Principle will bear any weight without sinking, will act impersonally for universal harmony, will calm the inflammation of human will and the unrest of self-interest. It gives a basis from which to lift ourselves and others to more spiritual living.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.