The local news item said that city police had passed out wallet-sized cards with safety tips for convention visitors. ''Travel on well-lighted thoroughfares and avoid side streets,'' the card said; also, ''Avoid displaying large sums of cash.'' This particular gathering was very special; it was the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Seventy-five countries were represented and six thousand police officers. The city was taking precautionary steps for fear that one of the police chiefs might get mugged!
Although a touch of humor lightens this story, it is another reminder of a continuing problem being faced today in cities throughout the world. As a result of crime, many people feel imprisoned in their homes, afraid to go out on the streets; and weapons are often felt to be a necessity for individual protection.
Each one of us has the right to feel safe, secure. Long ago the Psalmist sang , ''Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.'' n1
n1 Psalms 91:9,10.
This loved promise is practical and meaningful today. We'll most effectively find God to be our refuge as we turn to Him, seek an understanding of His spiritual, perfect creation, and place our trust in Him, in good.
Didn't this view of man's spiritual perfection, unseen to limited, human perception, underlie Christ Jesus' healing work? Jesus did not compromise with evil; he faced it squarely and demanded its correction. Yet the Master beheld man's actual nature as sinless, in God's likeness.
The disciples once questioned him about a man born blind. ''Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?'' they asked. Jesus answered, ''Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.'' n2
n2 John 2,3.
Doesn't the premise for Jesus' declaration of the blind man's innocence apply also to those who have sinned? The fact that someone is a hardened criminal does not invalidate the basic truth that God's man is not a sinful mortal but is rather His pure and innocent likeness. Jesus' spiritual discernment that God and His perfect image, man, constitute the only reality of being provided the basis for his healings.
Mary Baker Eddy, a devoted follower of Christ Jesus and the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Man is the expression of God's being.'' n3 And elsewhere, ''The real man cannot depart from holiness, nor can God, by whom man is evolved, engender the capacity or freedom to sin.'' n4
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 470.
n4 Ibid., p. 475.
Clearly, crime is a problem, and there are sinners who need regenerating. But a sinner is not God's man. The view of man as a sinning mortal is a mistaken view of God's offspring.
In prayer we can hold to the powerful truth of God and man. God, divine Mind, communicates to each of us, every moment, intelligent, enlightened thoughts that enable us to refute the seeming reality of evil and discern evil's powerlessness. As we humbly listen for these pure spiritual ideas, we'll gain an increasing awareness of the actual presence of good and feel ourselves being guided and protected in all we do.
All the wicked elements of mortal existence will obviously not disappear in a moment; nor should our acceptance of spiritual truth include a bland disregard of the necessity to correct and regenerate those who act lawlessly. However, a correct identification of man as the image of God is essential to mankind's liberation from evil. And each of us, through our prayers, can be an active participant in this liberation.
The armor of spiritual understanding does not make us weak and vulnerable - it strengthens and protects us. It enables us to move more freely and safely, knowing we are always in God's care. Even in those places where danger threatens , God is our refuge and guide. Through prayerful recognition of God, divine Mind , as the only creator and governor of man we can progressively find healing, protection, and deliverance from the claims of evil. DAILY BIBLE VERSE God is a refuge for us Psalms 62:8