Don't we all yearn to live in a society where justice is administered swiftly and fairly to all lawbreakers? Too often, those who commit arson, burglary, even murder, are not apprehended, much less brought to trial. How can we help?
We can always be more responsible citizens - more aware of our community and more willing to cooperate with law enforcement officials when the opportunity arises. But beyond that, we can consistently support through prayer - that is, by communing with God - those who enforce our laws.
The best place to begin is with an understanding of God's nature. Deity, as divine Spirit, is not an oversized mortal dwelling in the sky somewhere, peering down on humanity. Rather, God is incorporeal and therefore infinite.
This everywhere-present God is also divine Love, omnipotent Truth. His nature is purely good, not a mixture of good and evil. As divine Mind, the one supreme intelligence of the universe, Deity is omniscient - all-knowing, all-seeing.
The Bible reveals this manifold nature of Deity. ''God is a Spirit,'' n1 Christ Jesus taught. The Psalmist sang, ''The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.'' n2 And Paul proclaimed, ''O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!'' n3
n1 John 4:24.
n2 Psalms 33:5
n3 Romans 11:33.
Since Deity is pure Spirit, we can't discern His presence with our physical eyes and ears. We know Him through our spiritual senses, through spiritual understanding.
The nature of man, according to the Bible and the teachings of Christian Science, is derived from God. Then, as the offspring of Spirit, man is actually spiritual. As the child of Truth and Love, he is, in his genuine selfhood, both lawful and loving. As the idea of Mind, man includes wisdom and intelligence.
Again, we don't see the flawless man of God's creating with our physical eyes and ears. It requires spiritual discernment to recognize God's perfect man. We do, however, see an individual's true selfhood to the extent that he expresses the divine nature.
We might say that the criminal is under a terrible delusion. That is, he is acting out of ignorance of the true nature of God and man. He has yet to discover his own innate, divinely bestowed goodness, satisfaction, and provision.
In some instances our deep realization of God's omnipresence and man's true nature might help waken the lawbreaker from this delusion. The power of prayer, together with the suffering that inevitably comes with living outside God's law, could redeem him. An individual who is receptive to the eternal, healing Christ, acknowledged through prayer, might begin to feel that violence and lawlessness are foreign to him. Facing and forsaking wrongdoing, he could pay whatever penalty is required and get on with expressing his innate Christliness.
We should also expect our prayers to aid the work of law enforcement officials. Realizing that God alone governs man, we can expect them to be led by the one Mind to be in the right place at the right time; impelled by Truth to question the best witnesses in a particular case or to check leads they might have otherwise overlooked.
There's no need, then, to feel helpless when we hear or read crime reports in the news. Each of us today is an effective crime fighter as we mentally, spiritually, side with divine Truth and Love. We can ''arrest'' the errors about man, suggesting that God's child could be cruel, violent, or mindless. We can affirm instead that man is the offspring of Spirit, inherently pure and good.
This kind of prayer acknowledges the power of God to correct and govern all mankind. In prayer, our limited, human sense of things yields to the clear perception of Deity's omniscience and omni-presence.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, encourages this yielding. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm , she writes, ''Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God's own way, and let human justice pattern the divine.'' DAILY BIBLE VERSE Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25