Why not exercise our rights?

Probably not one of us has ever heard anyone assert that sinful temptations come from God and that therefore we have no right to withstand them.

It's more likely we have heard a statement to the effect that physical suffering, in a particular instance, was to be endured without protest - even accepted as God's will.

Why the discrepancy? Are physical ills any more consistent with God's goodness than moral ones? Or do we have the right to confront both on the basis of His law?

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, answers this last question in the affirmative. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she admonishes, ''Be no more willing to suffer the illusion that you are sick or that some disease is developing in the system, than you are to yield to a sinful temptation on the ground that sin has its necessities.'' Later on she adds: ''Let us banish sickness as an outlaw, and abide by the rule of perpetual harmony, - God's law. It is man's moral right to annul an unjust sentence, a sentence never inflicted by divine authority.''n1

n1 Science and Health, p. 381.

The first chapter of Genesis in the Bible confirms our right to classify sickness as an illusion. It declares all that God made to be ''very good.'' And it reveals man as created in God's own image and likeness. How, then, could sickness, any more than sin, be a legitimate part of man? How could man be anything less than the perfect, spiritual reflection of his Maker?

Such reasoning, of course, flatly contradicts what the senses tell us. Their testimony would give credence to the Adam concept of man presented in subsequent chapters of Genesis. But we cannot view man as a sickly, sinful mortal and at the same time as the image of God. One of these views must be false.

Christ Jesus revealed for all mankind that the material view of man is, in fact, just that - a falsity. His healing works - including his own resurrection - overturned it at every point, showing that matter doesn't truly govern or constitute man's being.

It is noteworthy that after healing a woman of a crippling infirmity he referred to her as ''a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound.'' n2 Not for a moment did he attribute her bondage to the divine will. He knew she had the God-given right to be free, and he helped her to exercise it.

n2 Lule 14:16.

This right - a right that belongs to all of us - is being upheld today in the worldwide healing practice of Christian Science. The healing of physical as well as moral ailments through reliance solely on God's law has become a way of life for many.

My own study of Christian Science has enabled me to witness and to experience such healings. In one instance our daughter had been stung by a jellyfish. It was obvious that the pain was intense. Having had the same experience as a child , I was aware of what she was going through. But I knew I could not simply ask her to endure it patiently. I rebelled at the lie that God would permit His child to suffer or that there was another power that could inflict suffering against His will. I refuted the belief that pain could hold God's reflection in its grasp, make God's child oblivious of His nearness and power. I found myself saying aloud the thoughts that came to me at that moment, affirming them both for myself and for her. They were, I later realized, a healing prayer. Within a short time the pain had disappeared, and the child was free to enjoy the rest of the day with visiting friends.

Experiences such as this are not restricted to a favored few. They are the right of anyone who dares to penetrate beyond the scrim of illusive sense testimony and actively, understandingly affirm man's spiritual wholeness and the all-goodness and omnipotence of God. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Stand fast in the Lord. Philippians 4:1

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.