SOMETIMES a half-hour with our local paper or nightly newscast is enough to convince us the world is a pretty harsh place. But at the very same time, there are stories unfolding around the globe that we don't hear about as much. They tell of moral courage, unwavering integrity, profound caring, and sacrifice. They show us a better world.
Genuine goodness, wherever it's found, is evidence of our common Parent, the one God, who is pure good. And it points to how natural and necessary it is to open our eyes to the world, to embrace people of other cultures in our prayers, and to recognize God's universal goodness. We're often deterred from doing this because we tend mainly to see the world's troubles, and somehow sheer goodness gets lost in the picture. Certainly we can't pretend evil doesn't exist or ignore it. But we'll be of a lot more h elp in combating it as we consider the world from a different standpoint.
If we can begin to admit that creation as God actually made it must express His totally good nature as perfect Love, we can also begin to see that the world's evil can't be a permanent, God-sustained reality. It can't be a built-in part of man. This is what Christ Jesus was showing us through his healing works. His perception of man as actually God's spiritual likeness enabled him to destroy sin and disease, to expose through divine power their fraudulent nature. The Way-shower wasn't ignoring evil but g aining dominion over it. He was doing what his follower St. Paul spoke of in his second letter to the Corinthians--looking "not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
When the images of an evil world impress themselves on us most forcefully, it can be difficult to see any light. But in a sense, this is just the time when we can see the most light and be of most help if we're willing, through spiritual sense, to discern "the things which are not seen. The injustice "out there or even in our own lives may seem stubborn and painful. But it's not the outcome of God; it's not, therefore, an aspect of His creation. Our clear recognition of what God has done in all of its go odness can begin to make a difference in our world.
A central message of scientific Christianity is that creation in its truest sense must express the perfection of its creator. Whatever is not good, then, is not legitimate. It has no basis in spiritual reality, and that's why we can do something about it through prayer. This is quite different from seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. It isn't blind optimism; it's an opening of our eyes to what really is. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes in Science a nd Health with Key to the Scriptures, "We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things.
Despite the formidable challenges facing humanity, we've seen apparently impenetrable walls of oppression begin to crumble. Such progress is inevitable, because the world actually belongs to God. This can't help becoming more apparent as we recognize the true nature of creation to be totally spiritual, exclusively good. In the final analysis, this is the only reality. Looking deeply into it, we'll help bring healing to our world.
This is a condensed version of an article that originally appeared in the "Thinking it through column of the January 27 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.