Turning to Christ brings protection

IT'S easy to think that our peace and well-being are at the mercy of others. Crime, terrorism, family abuse, harassment at work, appear regularly to shatter the hopes, safety, and health of innocent victims. But what if we were to find that our peace and security are governed largely by our own thought? A solution would then appear more within reach. And this is just what a study of the Bible reveals. For example, Christ Jesus once found himself in a volatile crowd that was determined to thrust him off a cliff. The Master's thought was pure, free from hate and anger. He felt the protective embrace of God's love because he actively expressed the unselfed love that comes from God. And instead of being caught up in the violent, frenzied actions of the crowd, ``he passing through the midst of them went his way.''1

The desire to follow Jesus' example should encourage us to express increasing forgiveness and compassion. Yet it'sreassuring to know that we don't haveto achieve Jesus' level of purity beforewe can begin to experience God's care.Zacchaeus learned this.2 He was a tax collector, a position that was often associated with gross dishonesty. Biblical texts sometimes refer to publicans in the same breath as sinners. The people despised these collectors for the Romans because they usually gathered as much money for themselves as they could. It's quite likely that local citizens wouldn't have gone out of their way to be kind to Zacchaeus!

One day in Jericho, the people were waiting for Jesus. Zacchaeus wasshort, and he couldn't see. So he climbed a tree. When Jesus approached, he looked into the sycamore tree and said, ``Zacch8us, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.'' When Zacchaeus scrambled down, there was a good bit of mumbling in the crowd about how the Master was going to be the guest of a sinner. Zacchaeus stopped and said to Jesus, ``Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.''

Doesn't this account indicate that we can all be receptive to and benefit from the healing Christ, through which we feel God's love and protection? We need, though, to climb above a certain crowd mentality of action and reaction, domination and fear. It's important that we be willing, like Zacchaeus, to reform, to let go of selfish interests and express Christlike qualities, such as honesty, selflessness, purity, and compassion.

Jesus, who so fully embodied the Christ-power, carried with him at all times the recognition of God's protection. Like the Master, we have to resist getting caught up in the frenzy of angry reaction and express instead forgiveness and charitableness. If we lash out at those who lash out at us, if we fear a power that has no origin in God, divine Love, we'll see and experience what the crowd sees -- a threatening, out-of-control situation.On the other hand, when we honor Godas the only power, when we welcome Christ into our house (our consciousness), we'll have found the secret place where violence and hate cannot penetrate.

It's important, too, that we gain clearer views of our true selfhood as God's spiritual likeness, safe in His care. We're not, in reality, vulnerable mortals, separate from our creator, potential victims of evil. We live and move in God Himself, as the Bible says, and a growing perception of this reality is the most profound basis for protection we can find. Man, made in God's likeness, lives in divine Love. And we can begin to prove this. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.''3

The more we express God's love -- the kind of love that radiates from an overflowing heart regardless of response -- the more we'll know of the Love that gives man health, security, and peace. God is always caring for us. Being Christlike doesn't put His love into action. Rather, it enables us to witness divine Love's unceasing operation regardless of circumstances. We find ourselves ``hid with Christ in God,''4 where we're not at the mercy of others but are sheltered and sustained by the mercy of God.

1Luke 4:30. 2See Luke 19:1-10. 3Science and Health, p. 571. 4Colossians 3:3. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust. Psalms 91:4

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