When you read of unsolved conflicts in the world, you might wonder whether warring parties will ever be ready to make peace. Both sides believe they are right, and self-justification hardens their positions.
The Bible book of James gives a blunt but helpful summary of the reason for conflicts, and their solution: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?... Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:1, 7).
If we are to lift the burdens of conflict from humanity, we must heal “the lusts that war” in the human heart, meaning sin. The Bible teaches in many places that sin is the opposite of the holiness of God. It is an evil impulse or suggestion that, if accepted into our thought, causes us to disobey the law of Love, God, and kill our brother man. The Scriptures urge us to follow the moral and spiritual laws of God because that is the way to resist sin and escape from it.
It was often the sufferer from sin who came to Jesus to be healed. Christ Jesus’ method of healing sin was based on the reality of Spirit, God, and the unreality of evil. The Christ-spirit that Jesus expressed caused people to recognize that sin did not have power over them and enabled them to give it up in favor of the goodness of God. He saved people from evils such as hatred, dishonesty, injustice, and greed – the sins that cause conflict and war.
The Christ, being the ever-present manifestation of God, awakens sinners to their sinless purity as God’s sons and daughters. Jesus could say to a person, “[G]o, and sin no more” (John 8:11) because he knew it was possible. Expressing so completely the power of Christ, Truth, he made individuals whole who had been mentally and physically broken.
The teachings of Christian Science on sin are based on what Jesus said and did. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: “Evil is sometimes a man’s highest conception of right, until his grasp on good grows stronger. Then he loses pleasure in wickedness, and it becomes his torment. The way to escape the misery of sin is to cease sinning” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 327).
Sin is clearly no part of God, divine Mind, but must be associated with mortal mind, the source of false beliefs about real Mind and man. It is self-destructive mortal mind – or in the language of the Bible, the devil – which is both the sin and the sinner. Man as the idea of divine Mind and living under its law, is not sinful. Evil cannot deceive God’s man, cannot influence who we truly are. What divine Mind knows of each of us as His spiritual likeness, is our sinless freedom and wholeness and perfection.
Mrs. Eddy gave a daily prayer to the members of her church that, when lived, heals beyond the borders of our own lives. The prayer is: “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (“Manual of The Mother Church,” p. 41). With the overcoming of sin in ourselves, we “resist the devil,” diminish its influence in the world, and know more clearly that Christ comes to every human consciousness to free it from sin.