Articles in the ''Ideas'' section of today's Monitor discuss child abuse and the efforts of schools, legislators, and the legal community to deal with it. Who doesn't deplore child abuse and molestation! In some instances, indignation runs high. Sympathy for the victim may be so intense that it tends to magnify the desire to avenge his or her plight.
Fixing of guilt and punishment must be left to the courts. But can that adjudication restore the abused? Will commiseration alone heal broken hearts and bodies? Society may well be concerned, since experts who examine child abusers say that often those individuals themselves were abused as youngsters. Is today's pitiful victim destined to become tomorrow's outrage?
The Golden Rule offers a way to reverse this trend. Being hurt by others need not result in hurting others. God reveals Himself as Love, and the justice of Love has restorative effect for all. The Psalmist says, ''The Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.'' n1
It may seem difficult, in light of the sad results of abuse, to realize that the truth of God and His creation is demonstrable now. But to reconcile the human with the divine through prayer and spiritual growth must inevitably bring healing. God's creation, including man, is as incapable of inflicting harm as of being harmed. God, good, supports neither occurrence, recurrence, nor remembrance of abuse. As far as any case may seem from spiritual reality, everyone concerned can still understand and demonstrate man's inviolable wholeness. It is, in reality, our own nature. Instead of one generation of mortals perpetrating abuse on another, it can come to pass as the Psalmist proclaims, referring to God, ''One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.'' n2
n2 Psalms 145:4
God's Son, Christ Jesus, tenderly loved both children and adults. He healed society's victimizers as well as its victims. His words ''Thy sins are forgiven'' n3 were proved in the healing of the sinful woman. His command ''Rise . . . and walk'' n4 may have seemed impossible to someone bedfast. Nevertheless, the bedfast man arose and walked, healed. Let's not doubt, then, what Jesus promised to his followers: ''Nothing shall by any means hurt you.'' n5 We can be sure that the eternal Christ, Truth, that Jesus exemplified is fully empowered to make good this promise today. Christ is God's message to humanity.
n3 Luke 7:48
n4 John 5:8
n5 Luke 10:19
From the moment we admit God's healing message into our lives, it begins to erase, within the radius of our experience, the bruising and scarring of physique, morale, and spirit that would mark and haunt victims of abuse. And on the basis of spiritually understanding and demonstrating Christ, Truth, individuals are healed; their perfection and purity - undisturbed and intact in man's true identity - are restored.
In the light of the Science of Christ, we see that there is an offender behind abuse with which we all must deal. That offender is the misconception that evil has power. Jesus taught that evil is ''a liar, and the father of it.'' n6 While this does not cancel the need for the child abuser to redress his crime , still, we each have a responsibility to overcome evil - hatred, resentment, and revenge as well as fear and hurt. This is taking a stand for truth, for the reality of one power only - God Almighty.
n6 John 8:44
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and the founder of this newspaper, sets forth the underlying issue that society must face in overcoming exploitation of its young. It is this: ''Mankind must learn that evil is not power. Its so-called despotism is but a phase of nothingness. Christian Science despoils the kingdom of evil, and pre-eminently promotes affection and virtue in families and therefore in the community.'' n7
n7 Science and Health, pp. 102-103
All are cherished by God, and the protection of His Christ is available to everyone. Even though human means of protection might fail, and even though one might be thought too hardened or too young to be conscious of Christ's healing message, still, Christ's mission itself is ever active and includes all.
No human being can be too brutal to be rescued by Christ, the divine Redeemer. And no human being can be too brutalized to be restored by Christ, the heavenly Restorer. Nor can any human being be too outraged to discern that all have a part to play in bringing to light heaven on earth, through prayerfully urging the Christly rescue and restoration of whoever appears to be a party to abuse.
This article is a condensation of an editorial that will appear in the June 25 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Praise ye the Lord . . . . He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. Psalms 147:1, 3