Can you picture a world with no corruption? Where there's no cheating on tests or taxes? No lust for money or power? Could there be a world so just that the only courts needed are "the courts of the Lord"?
Clearly, that isn't the way many perceive the world. In a survey conducted by CNN/Opinion Research after the disclosure of what may be the worst ever investment fraud scheme, CNN reported that 74 percent of Americans believe that such "behavior is common among financial advisors and institutions" (Dec. 23, 2008).
Recent incidents point to the global reach of corruption. Still, a corruption-free world is more than fantasy. In the midst of a corrupt world in his day, the prophet Isaiah perceived the "peaceable kingdom" – without violence and competition for resources, with no predation or destructive impulses (see Isa. 11). And while exiled on the island of Patmos, John the Revelator wrote of "a new heaven and a new earth" – the "new Jerusalem," free of death, sorrow, and pain (see Rev. 21).
Were these visions only idealized hopes? Or predictions of an end-of-the-world dispensation? Or perhaps, encoded messages only for people of their own time?
What if, instead, those two visions are windows to a fundamental truth – a world of spiritual integrity, which exists right where corruption appears to thrive? This spiritual world goes largely undetected, and consequently, is experienced only by degree. Commenting on John's revelation, Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy asked, "Have you ever pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by beings under the control of supreme wisdom?" In a passage indicating why people fail to perceive the divine wholeness, she continued: "Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love. Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 91).
Corruption can't be blithely dismissed. It will take a struggle for awakening, character course-correction, and spiritual advancement before thought fully aligns with the Bible's counsel: "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (I Cor. 15:53).
Christian Science enables one to experience the world more as the ancient prophets discerned it. It offers means to "put off" the corruption model of life bound by the new/old condemnations of original sin and biological determinism. And the means to know God as universal Principle and Love, the Creator of a wholly good and spiritual creation.
It was just such spiritually enlightened vision that enabled Christ Jesus to save sinners. He freed people from distorted views of themselves, and in the process cured their physical deformities. A widely despised and probably corrupt tax collector named Zacchæus experienced spontaneous moral remission – a restoration to his innate goodness and honesty – through his encounter with Christ (see Luke 19). Jesus saw through the mental prison of corruption to the actual man or woman of God's making, and that vision brought healing.
Healing of the global community begins in individual lives, with Christ-leavened views of selfhood and substance, with improved desires and step-by-step victories over corruption in all its forms. Indulging in corrupt thoughts or desires fosters bad behavior.
Those who pray for the world can support humanity's love of honesty and fairness. While the CNN poll quoted above may accurately reflect public reaction to corrupt behavior, perceptions may belie the underlying truth: that the majority of people are honest. That said, guarding against fraud will require greater vigilance.
Spiritual magnetism – the pull to grow spiritually, the impulsion to do the right thing – is immeasurably more powerful than the animal instinct to defraud and harm. We have a divine right not only to see the "new earth" that the prophets saw, but also to see uncovered and corrected whatever falls short of creation's true nature.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.