People may sometimes feel that the cold of a long winter or the continuous heat of summer is more than a matter of degrees. It may seem a form of oppression that affects every aspect of life.
If we're struggling to get through the days, it's clear that we're being oppressed -- perhaps not so much by the weather as by mortal, material thinking, or mortal mind. This supposed mind would take away our sense of God's presence and promote disease and sin and lethargy.
Mortal mind is opposed to God, the one infinite divine Mind, and is the primary obstacle to a better life for any person. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, describes the basic nature of this so-called mind in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''Evil beliefs, passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, self-justification, pride, envy, deceit, hatred, revenge, sin, sickness, disease, death.''n1 An all-star lineup of mankind's most persistent oppressors.
n1 Science and Health, p. 115.
Let's take self-justification and see how its negative influence can be stopped. This form of oppression may manifest itself in many ways. Perhaps for the sake of ''making it to the top'' or ''doing something great'' or even ''serving mankind,'' an individual jumps into a promising six-figure job in another city but leaves behind a spouse who bitterly files for divorce, saddening both lives. Another person may obstinately pursue the dream of being famous and influential while his family keeps a stiff upper lip but secretly cries at having to live in poverty because he is never quite successful.
Self-justification is a major part of each of these cases -- and the perpetrator is not, in a very fundamental sense, the one who jumps or dreams. It is mortal mind. Mortal mind is what seems to turn one away from what may have been pure goals and joyous expectations toward greater self-centeredness. Unfortunately, the developing error often goes unnoticed.
However, with patience, obedience to God, and hard work a person can break up this stony spot in his or her life. The patience one needs isn't inertia or mere satisfaction with any apparent progress no matter how fleeting; rather, it is persistent, consistent trust in God's power to uplift desires and uproot destructive character traits. To be obedient doesn't mean to act blindly on any impulse, hoping it's divine, but to make sure what we do reflects the Golden Rule. The hard work doesn't involve physical energy as much as spiritual discipline -- praying and studying the Bible, the Word of God, regularly.
One good way to develop qualities that overcome oppression is through love that expresses God, divine Love. This love is seen both in thought (realizing that we are in reality Love's active image, expressing tenderness, integrity, purity) and in life (doing what is good for others). This love comes not through our own efforts so much as through God's grace understood in the meekness of prayer.
To overturn the oppression of self-justification we have to see beyond the false, mortal sense of ourselves to God and His image, man, and bring out that image in our lives. ''Self-love is more opaque than a solid body,'' writes Mrs. Eddy. ''In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error,-- self-will, self-justification, and self-love, -- which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.n2
n2 Ibid., p. 242.
Mortal mind's oppression comes in many other ways. But in every case, through patience, obedience, and hard work leading to the expression of divine Love in our lives, we can uncover the false nature of evil, the powerlessness of mortal mind. And we can see its influence replaced with divine control. The Bible says, ''Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: to judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.''n3
n3 Psalms 10:17,18.
Whether a problem is individual or collective, it is really the same oppressor that causes the mischief. And it is the same divine Principle, Love -- the Love we find operating through the Science of Christianity -- that loosens and destroys the oppressor's grip. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Submit yourselves therefore to God. James 4:7