Building a society of trust

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

Creating a society based on trust - instead of the fear and anger that often seem so prevalent in today's world - may sound unachievable, like some sort of impractical dream. In a time when 6-year-olds can be accused of sexual harassment, when innocent people are taken hostage, when government and business leaders are widely mistrusted, it's perhaps understandable that our first reaction to such events is suspicion, assuming the worst.

There is an answer for suspicion and pessimism, however, and it's based on a spiritual, rather than a political or economic, model. Underlying such cynicism is a cry for stability that only God - infinite Spirit or Soul - can fulfill, a cry for a better world where humanity no longer puts aside the natural inclination to follow Jesus' command, "Love one another" (John 13:34). In the midst of cynicism, danger, and hatred, the master Christian simply loved, and he urged everyone to feel within his or her own heart the kingdom of heaven, the reign of love (see Luke 17:21). Jesus taught that when God's love takes hold of human hearts, suspicion dissolves, enabling trust in good.

Most major religious faiths teach love as their ultimate goal. They urge the practice of goodness and compassion as necessities - not luxuries - for the survival of the human race. And pure love has the effect of nurturing the trust that is natural to every one of us as God's children. Building societies where love reigns is possible. And it is our individual and collective responsibility to create them - moment by moment.

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In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy brought out the need to live with love. And beyond familial, sympathetic, or romantic love, she taught about divine Love, which is God Himself. When we draw on and express that Love, our deeds become unselfed, and they are reinforced with a power beyond our own.

Experience also taught the Discoverer of Christian Science that there are dangerous tendencies of thought that erode trust and must not be ignored. Mrs. Eddy referred to those dangerous tendencies in Science and Health as "animal magnetism," a term that refers to all evil (see p. 484). In an article titled "Ways that are Vain," she cautioned about the way in which animal magnetism "fosters suspicious distrust where honor is due, fear where courage should be strongest, reliance where there should be avoidance, a belief in safety where there is most danger" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 211).

Individual resolve to help nurture a world where greater compassion can take hold, uninhibited by fear and suspicion, can take us to new levels of well-being. Resolve to put down the claims of evil and prevent its activity is essential in creating a society based on trust. Such resolve can begin with conscientious prayer to acknowledge God's control of our moments and days. And with the willingness to trust that His kind direction is at hand for all of His sons and daughters.

Out of that same warning about the nature of animal magnetism, too, can come a prayer to consider the need for honor and courage. We can honor God's greatness by cherishing every bit of good in ourselves as His expression. And we can recognize acts of integrity and kindness evident in government leaders and others. It takes courage to love those who have been accused of misdeeds - to care enough to see their exemption as expressions of God, free from evil and suspicion. And we can absolutely refuse to believe that any wrong has the ability to harm, since it is not of God. Innate spirituality, intelligence, and goodness must ultimately be perceived as true, both of victim and victimizer.

Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.

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