Bathed in light, I lay silently by the water, drinking in the sunlight through every pore. The same light that shone on me sparkled on the waves, drenched the dock, glowed on the trees surrounding the lake. Pure, clean light illuminated everything, and it seemed as if nothing was hidden anywhere in the world.
In that moment, I saw that the physical light of the sun could be a metaphor for spiritual light, and that light truly does shine away everything evil, corrupt, and sinful. That light is spoken of in the very first chapter of Genesis: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (verse 3). Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, writes about spiritual light: “This light is not from the sun nor from volcanic flames, but it is the revelation of Truth and of spiritual ideas. This also shows that there is no place where God’s light is not seen, since Truth, Life, and Love fill immensity and are ever-present” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 504). This illumination shines healing into our lives.
Yet sometimes tragic events occur, which suggest a life of darkness for the innocent. Shortly after my afternoon by the water, I was shocked and saddened to hear several news stories involving the exploitation and abuse of young children. A study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center indicates that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are victims of child sexual abuse, and that victims of sexual abuse often develop low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness. Where is the light that can dispel that depth of darkness?
Reflecting on my earlier inspiration about spiritual light, I realized that prayer for the young victims of sexual crimes bathes these innocents in the purity of divine Love, the inviolability of Truth, the eternal goodness of Life. This spiritual light shines health into everyone’s lives, helping us experience greater mental and physical well-being. Prayer for victims of exploitation wouldn’t be sincere or effective without the recognition that healing must come, sooner or later, for the perpetrators of such crimes as well. But how is it possible to forgive such individuals and be ready to heal?
I begin by going back, mentally, to my sunshine-saturated afternoon. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount reminds us that God “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good” (Matthew 5:45). The sunshine of Soul reveals and glorifies the perfection of God’s creation – but at the same time its intensity shrivels up and dissolves impure thinking and actions.
Our honest acknowledgment that no evil has or ever could touch a child of God has to include everyone, since the true identity of everyone is Godlikeness. No child of any age can or could be contaminated by the darkness of selfishness, sensuality, depravity, or violence, either as a recipient of or a vehicle for evil. Infinite Love, which is pouring out adoration, perfection, peace, and progress, is pouring it out on one and all. In divine Love there can never be an evil motive to be acted upon, nor any lawlessness. In our prayers, we never pardon evil – and we don’t seek amnesty for those who have acted under the influence of an abusive mind-set. But we recognize that evil thoughts and motives never have the final word, are never a part of anyone’s spiritual identity, and have no legitimacy in God’s creation, which includes us all.
These are permanent facts about every one of us, in our true spiritual nature, and letting this spiritual light fill our thought does have a healing effect. Our prayer to protect the innocents and shine light on evil establishes health and freedom, and we can expect that our persistence with this prayer will be evident in a safer, more wholesome world.