Neither Aggressor Nor Victim

CROSSING a city street years ago, I noticed two young men eyeing a woman's open purse and moving toward it. I stepped between them and the woman, alerted her to the open purse, and . . . that was that! It was as simple as that. No crime, no aggressors, no victim. It made me happy.

The news often presents the troubling picture of humanity as either ruthless aggressors or helpless victims--fraud, thefts, vandalism, murders. But there is always a way to find safety and peace. ``I am the way,'' Christ Jesus declared (John 14:6). As I look to him and follow his way of understanding and living life, I find the way to prevent crime.

How did Jesus deal with the concept of man as aggressor or victim? He rejected both as invalid, on the basis of the truth of man's real nature: created by God, divine Love, in God's image, therefore loving; endowed by God with dominion, therefore never helpless.

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Reflecting God's inexhaustible love made Jesus victorious, not victimized. Exercising God-given dominion gave him control but never made him aggressive. With love and dominion Jesus faced down aggression and the lie that man can be made a victim. This is clearly evident in the accounts of his arrest. A multitude came with swords to get him, but, John's Gospel tells us, ``they went backward, and fell to the ground'' (18:6) as Jesus stepped forward to identify himself. A disciple drew his sword, struck a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Jesus ordered the sword put away, and he healed the servant's ear. There was no aggressor, no victim.

Jesus cannot personally intervene on our behalf today. But the Christ, Truth, he manifested, taught, and practiced can and does. The godliness he so fully expressed as the Son of God gave him the title ``Christ.'' This godliness, the divine nature Jesus expressed, is present in every human consciousness. Yielding to the influence of Christ, we can prove man's loving nature and God-given dominion. In this way, Christ destroys the false evidence of man as aggressor or victim.

Mary Baker Eddy, founder of this newspaper, yearned to free humanity from aggression and oppression, including sickness and sin. She found in the Bible the spiritual truth behind Jesus' life and works--the truth that liberates mankind, namely, the allness of God, good, and the consequent nothingness of evil. And in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she points to the urgent need for godliness in our lives. She says, speaking of Christian Scientists: ``They must renounce aggression, oppression, and the pride of power. Christianity, with the crown of Love upon her brow, must be their queen of life'' (p. 451). The Christ Science enables us to demonstrate that God has created man to be the image of Love, and to see others in His image also.

Someone I know was called once to come and stop a fight between two men. He prayed on the way, acknowledging man's real nature as Love's expression and the presence of divine Love, which precludes conflicts. Arriving, he found the fight was over. Years later, one of the men visited him. He told him that the two had been enemies. They had fought constantly, violently. But that day, during the fight, they both suddenly stopped--and never fought again. They became fast friends.

We can all pray and yield to Christly thoughts and actions, thus individually and collectively bringing out man's real nature--the image of Love endowed with God-given dominion.

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