NOT long ago a macabre report of murder on the Mexico-Texas border was in the news. We were told that the crimes had been committed by a drug-smuggling gang practicing the occult and engaging in demonic worship. Such acts are so grotesque that they may leave us shocked and feeling almost helpless. Some people may tune them out entirely, while others may conclude there is little one can do to prevent such tragedies. But there is something meaningful we can do. We can pray. Prayer isn't an escapist way of avoiding the bad things in life. It's the most effective means we have for confronting the fatalism that would let wrong operate unchecked in our lives. When we turn our thoughts to the supremacy of divine power, prayer disarms evil by dispelling fear, defeatism, grief -- whatever would keep us resigned to acts of evil. It frees us to take the necessary steps to stop wrongdoing.
The Bible is rich with examples of how an increased awareness of God's omnipotence frees one from danger. People in the Bible overcame what appeared to be overwhelming circumstances through a clearer recognition of God's supreme power. Moses, Elijah, and Daniel, to name a few, attributed power and reality to God rather than to the evils they faced.
What a startling view of evil Christ Jesus gave the world when he referred to the devil as a ``liar.'' Jesus said of the supposed personification of all evil, ``When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.''1
Jesus' actions indicate that he never accepted evil as final. His deeds proved that evil of any kind is always a deception and that it can always be overcome with truth. He healed what were considered to be incurable diseases by assigning all power to God and His laws of health instead of to the discord so evident to the human senses. He redeemed the wicked and violent. Through his spiritual receptivity he was able to see beyond the horror of evil to the ultimate spiritual reality of God's allness and goodness.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes this important point: ``Jesus' definition of devil (evil) explains evil. It shows that evil is both liar and lie, a delusion and illusion. Therefore we should neither believe the lie, nor believe that it hath embodiment or power; in other words, we should not believe that a lie, nothing, can be something, but deny it and prove its falsity.'' She adds, ``After this manner our Master cast out evil, healed the sick, and saved sinners.''2
Acting in line with our Master's view of evil -- proving, for example, the falsity of hatred by overcoming its effects with courage and love -- we awake to the truth of God's omnipotence and omnipresence. We gain a conviction that, material appearances to the contrary, the true nature of every person is the spiritual likeness of God, eternal Life. The most despicable sin or frightening circumstance is seen, in a deep spiritual sense, as a lie about our spiritual selfhood as divine Life's creation. Our prayers take on a higher tone of spiritual conviction and dominion when they are based on the increased understanding that only God and what He creates are true.
Genuine spirituality has no taint of the occult. Those who believe in occultism believe in an illusionary world of so-called good and evil ``spirits.'' Actually, there is only one Spirit and that is God, incorporeal Life. The term spiritual refers only to God's laws and qualities, as expressed in His offspring. Centuries have passed since Moses rebuked the early Israelites for their worship of many deities, yet today there are those who credit other ``gods'' with possessing greater power than that of the Supreme Being.
The world will find its God-given protection from evil when it learns to honor the one Spirit, God, as the All-power and the All-presence that He is. We'll then be obeying the First Commandment as it was meant to be obeyed. How encouraging it is to know that by acknowledging God's supremacy we can begin to disarm the worst fears. The world, as reported in the news every day, is a battleground for good and evil, but we can be confident that the victory will be on the side of good as each of us utilizes God's supreme power in acts of goodness, integrity, love, and fearlessness.
As we bring our lives into accord with Christ -- with the divine power lived to the fullest by Jesus -- we more readily discern life from the perspective of moral and spiritual good. Those who previously might have found such practices as voodoo and sorcery enticing will no longer find them so, because spiritual goodness has become more attractive and believable to them than the evil the material senses see.
Christian Science helps us to find and rejoice in the good that is always available from God. It awakes us to the supreme reality of divine Life, before which evil has neither power nor reality. As we understand more of God's goodness and reality, our fear of evil evaporates. Armed with a knowledge of what is spiritually true, we're able to do something about evil and its myriad lies. Our communities will feel the impact of our prayer-filled lives when we base them on Spirit's omnipotence and omnipresence.
1John 8:44. 2Christian Science versus Pantheism, p. 5. The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. Psalms 34:22