My son called me the morning after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He was deeply disturbed, and he wanted to talk about what his individual response should be. He has a wife and two children, and until then, he had felt everything in his life was going pretty well. But the horrific nature of the attacks, and the resulting feelings of shock, grief, anger, and a desire for justice, were all stirring in his heart. He felt he needed to do something. He wanted to be part of making things right again.
Most of us are dealing with similar feelings. We want to do whatever we can to help the victims and their families feel comfort and consolation. But beyond this basic instinct comes another instinctive desire - to see justice done. My son said he was thinking of joining the National Guard. He said he felt he had to do something to respond to the need welling up inside to bring to justice the people who had perpetrated these atrocities, not only against America, but against all of humanity.
The Holy Bible refers to God as the source of justice. The prophet Isaiah calls God our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King (see Isa. 33:22). We are instructed that God is righteous and good. The book of Genesis poses this rhetorical question: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (18:25).
Indeed, how do we find the appropriate means by which we can bear witness to divine justice? The answer is found in gaining a better understanding of God. That's what Christian Science has helped me to have. God, the divine Principle of the universe, is infinite, filling all space, possessing all intelligence, all power. To get just a glimpse of these spiritual facts is to realize that no form of evil, destructive force, malicious thought, or concealed danger can stand before the presence and power of God, who is righteous, just, and "of purer eyes than to behold evil" (Hab. 1:13). This is the "Science" part. The "Christian" part is the living out in daily life what these spiritual facts mean, which is perhaps best demonstrated in one's obedience to the Golden Rule, doing unto others as we would have them do unto us.
It's not reasonable to think that we can simply sit back and let others make justice happen for us. Each of us is responsible for living consistently with the divine law of justice - living in obedience to the laws of God, both morally and spiritually. For some of us, this will include taking up arms to defend our fellow citizens by bringing to justice those who would terrorize or kill innocent people. For others, it will include efforts to support those who take up arms to protect them. For every one of us, though, our daily prayers affirming God's all-power and ever-present justice, and doing whatever we can to express that justice, are required.
The founder of this newspaper was a good example of someone who took to heart this demand to pray for, and live, a life that would help everyone recognize the influence of divine justice in their lives. In Mary Baker Eddy's published writings, she states, "The most just man can neither defend the innocent nor detect the guilty, unless he knows how to be just; and this knowledge demands our time and attention."
She goes on to illustrate this point: "I visited in his cell the assassin of President Garfield, and found him in the mental state called moral idiocy. He had no sense of his crime; but regarded his act as one of simple justice, and himself as the victim. My few words touched him; he sank back in his chair, limp and pale; his flippancy had fled. The jailer thanked me, and said, 'Other visitors have brought to him bouquets, but you have brought what will do him good' " ("Miscellaneous Writings," pg. 112).
This incident shows what the effect can be of one human being on another when the nature of divine justice is truly understood in all its power. It certainly points to the opportunity that awaits a collective consciousness inspired by the same truth. We can and will see, sooner or later, the end of terrorism and its horrible effects, by being faithful witnesses to the fact that no one, and no organization, can stand against the all-power and ever-presence of the divine Principle, God.
... a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:4