Violence is not inevitable

Belfast, Beirut, Manila,Managua. Images of death and destruction assault us from all over the world. Is there no escape from the violence? No end to the crises?

Whatever its cause, the killing and maiming can be stopped. There is no divine law supporting such activity, so it is not inevitable.

Only what proceeds from God and reflects His nature has genuine power or reality. Whatever is contrary to divine law is absolutely illegitimate; it has nothing of substance to support it. It is based on a misconception of being, which ceases to have impact in human affairs as we understand it for what it is.

God is infinite good and the author of good alone. Because violence is not good, it is not from God and is no part of man's true existence.

As we come to see that God is the only true cause, the only creator, we gain a whole new perspective on man and the universe. Reasoning from the basis of spiritual cause and effect instead of material appearances, we begin to lose our fear of evil. This is because we come to discern that harmony, not chaos, is the actual status of existence; we perceive that God, not some wicked force, is the only genuine power.

Far from ignoring violence, this understanding is indispensable to healing it. Through prayer that is anchored in an understanding of God's allness, we can help replace the human sense of helplessness and hopelessness with a recognition of man's God-given dominion and freedom. And this in turn can help bring to light constructive, peaceful solutions to individual and world problems. Abuse and terrorism can be held in check through prayer.

This isn't just wishful thinking; it's Biblically based truth. The Bible tells us that ''God is love.'' n1 It also states, ''The Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.'' n2

n1 John 4:8.

n2 Deuteronomy 4:39.

Divine Love is the governing Principle of the universe, the sole motivating power of man, God's image and likeness. When we understand that, in reality, ''man is the expression of God's being,'' n3 as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, we come to see that in truth he can manifest nothing but love.

n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 470.

Hatred, anger, greed, selfishness, lust, animality, and other violence-producing qualities are no part of man's actual character as God's reflection. They are perversions of man's identity, and they can be progressively destroyed by accepting as real only what is good and Godlike.

There is nothing inevitable about violence, no matter how long it seems to have occurred. Evil isn't an undying fact of life. It's a mistaken belief that good, God, is not All-in-all - that there is a power which exists apart from or in addition to infinite divine Love; an evil mind opposed to the one divine Mind. Although such opposition does seem to exist, if there is just one God, as Christ Jesus proved beyond doubt, then the claims of evil are fraudulent and can be overturned.

The need is to pray for ourselves and the world from the basis of the allness and onliness of good. As Mrs. Eddy says, ''Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.'' n4

n4 Ibid, p. 261.

Jesus' clear apprehension of the nature of God and man brought healing in all areas of life. Understanding God's absolute control, he didn't fear for his own safety or the well-being of others. Reflecting divine power, he controlled events; they did not control him.

We, too, can be calm in moments of crisis, and real men and women of action. We can mobilize good through prayer. As we acknowledge the omniaction of divine Love, and steadfastly affirm God's omnipotence, we will see wider evidence of peace and reconciliation. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. I Chronicles 29:11

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