A healing response to terrorism

WHEN the events of a terrorist act are played out on the world stage, the tension of an international drama is also played out in individual lives. Many are gripped with fear and emotions. If we're caught up in the drama, it's hard to know how to respond in a useful way. Many of us yearn for a solution to violence and to the conditions that breed violence but feel helpless. How can we not be afraid of a cruel outcome? How can we respond in a healing way? We can begin to overcome fear of the situation by determining to love, even though there seem to be no grounds for love. The Christian precedent for responding this way is found in the life of Christ Jesus, who said, ``Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.''1 These words of Jesus express his spiritual radicalism. We can be just as radical in our response to terrorism. We can express this love with healing effect because the Bible tells us, ``There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.''2

But how can we love the unlovable, and how can our love help a situation apparently beyond our control? We need to cultivate a deep and courageous understanding that the true selfhood of man is God-created and God-governed. This essential spiritual insight is what undergirds the love Jesus commended. Once we admit that we are able to love -- and that man's actual, spiritual identity is worthy of love because it expresses the pure goodness of God -- we are on the way to defusing the situation in our own thought. And this can have a marked effect on outward conditions. To discern the reality of man in prayer, to feel and know that all individuals, in truth, are under the supreme government of God, subject to His wisdom and love, is to play an important role in undermining the supposed power of evil.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, referring to man's true, God-created identity: ``Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas.''3 This is the reality we can love and, in turn, help bring to light.

It's important also to learn that all true power really lies with God, good, and to trust this fact. There's an account in the Old Testament4 in which Elisha's servant awoke early one morning to find the city where he and his master were staying surrounded by enemy troops. He was terrified. Elisha told him not to be afraid because ``they that be with us are more than they that be with them.'' Elisha prayed that the young man's eyes would be opened. They were, and he saw that ``the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.''

Power belongs to God and is everywhere present, even where fear and danger appear to be. It might be quitea challenge to hold firmly to this truthand to trust God, but in doing so we'll help prove the power and everpresence of His care. Remembering that ``the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds,''5 strengthens our trust in prayer as a means of establishing justice. This keeps the thrust of our thinking with what is good and true, and we will be an influence for good on the world scene, helping to break down the hate and fear that engender terrorism.

1Matthew 5:44. 2I John 4:18. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 475. 4See II Kings 6:8-17. 5II Corinthians 10:4. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

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