BOSTON — Tragic news, especially if it is just the latest chapter in a decades-long string of sorrows fallen on the same family, is sometimes referred to as part of a "curse." The label, applied casually and without much thought, is a con-
venient way for the public, and for journalists, to sum up a dreadful chain of misfortunes. It's meant to explain the unexplainable. Or maybe the term isn't used so casually. Perhaps some really are convinced of a literal curse - an utterance that purports to bring down divine wrath on an individual or group. All this talk about certain people being cursed - it's not a plus for those on the receiving end. It's not a plus for those on the talking end either.
Since the concept is in the news lately, perhaps it's time to pause and look at the issue in a more reasoned way. A good place to start is with the Bible, in the book of Proverbs. Consider this: "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come" (Prov. 26:2). Bible scholars say that in the ancient world curses were superstitiously thought to have inherent force, and once uttered, they zoomed to their destination with destructive power. The proverb quoted is refuting that ancient notion. The notion is false, the proverb is true. A causeless curse doesn't hit its target any more than an aimlessly wandering bird reaches its destination.
Think of the nature of God, the only cause, who is pure good and who is unwavering in His love and affection for His creation. It's plain His divine force never infuses somebody's harmfully intended utterance with power. God simply does not give over His power to such things. His nature is to bless His offspring, to bestow good on all.
Another passage, also from the book of Proverbs, hints at the perfect consistency of God and at the consistency of what He bestows on His children. It reads, "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it" (Prov. 10:22).
God blesses. That's His action. He does not engage in an opposite action. He does not curse His own creation, nor enforce anyone else's curse. And if He doesn't enforce it, what could? Nothing.
This blessing from God, who is omnipotent Love, Truth, and Life is what's in store for us all. It's what we can anticipate in our own lives and look for in the lives of others.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, made this observation: "Is it a duty for any one to believe that 'the curse causeless cannot come'? Then it is a higher duty to know that God never cursed man, His own image and likeness" ("Christian Healing," pg. 9).
Anyone can strive to fulfill this duty. We'll then see more evidence of the richness of God's gifts - blessings such as peace of mind, assurance that all is well, safety. Again, since those blessings come from the Father, He never tinges them with sorrow or tragedy. His gifts are purely consistent in their harmony.
Blessings from God have power. Curses do not have power. They are always causeless, because God is the one and only cause.
This is true. But its verity doesn't quite mean we can ignore the issue. Why? If a mass of people - millions of tabloid readers, for instance - have a conviction that bad events hang over the future of a certain family or group, it is well to refute that conviction with prayer. We can enter a mental and spiritual protest that since true power always derives from God, omnipotent Truth and Life and Love, there are no harmful opposites. Even mass conviction doesn't imprint divine power on a wicked utterance that in the final analysis is always an empty utterance. But we want to realize this with spiritually reasoned authority.
God knows His own nature. He alone possesses and imparts power. From Him we have unopposed blessings. As we acknowledge this in prayer, we'll find it makes a difference. Some of the bad things that can happen to individuals or families won't happen in the face of this prayer. As we realize the allness and unopposableness of God's good nature, the bad happenings fade out. We'll experience still more of what Love and Truth and Life ordains. So will others.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society