Many people, understandably, are fearful at the thought of random mayhem caused by a deranged criminal. And many seem to deal with this fear through a grim fatalism: it's horrible, and if you get caught in it, the most you can do is hope for the best and wait for help.
There actually is more that we can do, but it would be cruel to suggest that it is some quick, superficial action. Rather, it's an action of deeply Christian humility and love, a turning to God through earnest prayer. The Bible urges us, ''Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.'' n1 Is it possible that to draw nigh to God means to accept meekly the truth of God and His creation? Could it mean to agree deeply that God is good and that the actual selfhood of everyone is His perfect likeness, as the Bible teaches?
n1 James 4:8
Accepting these truths may seem difficult, because we tend to be glued to the belief that what our eyes and ears tell us is the only reality. Yet through our spiritual sense we feel love, which many agree is very real yet nonmaterial. Through the same gentle sense we can become conscious of the one perfect God and of man in His likeness. This is not to hide from evil or ignore it but to glimpse the truth that there is no evil in God or in His man. The Bible says, ''The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.'' n2 Certainly evil must melt, disappear, before His allness and goodness.
n2 Psalms 46:6
It's not always easy to turn to God when we're confronted in person or even in news reports by vividly brutal actions. Yet so great is God's love that He gives us both the deep desire to obey Him in every situation and the strength to do it. Then we realize that we're safe in His love, as Christ Jesus proved. When the Master was confronted by a mob that wanted to destroy him, ''he passing through the midst of them went his way.'' n3
n3 Luke 4:30
Admittedly, advancement in spiritual understanding has to come in order for us to emulate, in progressive degrees, Jesus' proofs of divine power. But doesn't the very fact that Jesus came to earth indicate that mankind is ready to begin following his example? After all, he came with the gentlest imaginable love for mankind. Surely, then, he did not come to cruelly taunt us with an impossible ideal. No, he came to show us what limitless good is possible for anyone who relies on God as he did. His tender promise ''I am with you alway'' n 4 must mean that we can discern sufficiently the presence of the universal Christ, Truth, to be safe in every emergency. But we have to be more spiritually innocent, not just humanly uninvolved.
n4 Matthew 28:20
Spiritual innocence is something deeper than being personally unresponsible for evil. It means having at least a degree of freedom from the false concept of man as a sinful mortal, and some perception of all creation as God's perfect and beloved manifestation.
So if we are caught in a dangerous crossfire or are living with a controlled terror that we might be caught in such a situation, our first need is not so much for some overwhelming material force. It is for the overwhelming spiritual force of God expressed through the humble willingness to admit His tender all-power and all-presence. Where God is, there is no fear or dementia. Only good is present, and by meekly accepting even a little of this universal truth we will experience more and more of His protection.
Also, society will be helped. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.'' n5
n5 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210.
Through prayer we can help heal criminal derangement. Neither fatalism nor suppressed fear need govern our lives or grip our communities. Divine Love is a constant presence and defense. DAILY BIBLE VERSE My brethern, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Ephesians 6:10