IS it human circumstances that determine reality for us, or is it something else? Much of the world might say that if you can see something and touch it, it must be real. On the other hand, some thinkers would agree that the objects we touch and see are temporal and have no inherent ``reality because they are here today and gone tomorrow--that only things based on an unchanging principle or truth are, in an ultimate sense, real. Which is it that truly determines reality for us?
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, tells us in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Understanding is the line of demarcation between the real and unreal." She continues in the next paragraph: ``This understanding is not intellectual, is not the result of scholarly attainments; it is the reality of all things brought to light."
In the Bible we are told that God created the heavens and the earth, and that He made them good. Since God made all, and made it good, then this goodness must be reality!
Christ Jesus came to earth to bring the light of understanding to the world. He came to show us what is real in God's eyes. His understanding of reality was an active, vital power for good. It destroyed sin and sickness by taking away their seeming power and reality. Matthew's Gospel tells us that Jesus said to a man with a withered hand, ``Stretch forth thine hand." Jesus was not looking to the material, physical condition for reassurance of reality. He was looking to his Father, God, for an understandi ng of man. Jesus perceived that man is spiritual, whole, perfect, and that this true being never had a withered hand at all. This spiritual understanding healed the man because it brought to light the God-created reality of uninvadable, incorruptible, flawless perfection.
This understanding of man's spiritual nature is available to each of us as we turn to God for guidance. Then we know what to believe as real or as unreal in our experience, and we are less willing to accept inharmony, lack, limitation, illness, as true of our life. In fact, we begin to reject these ungodlike things as having no reality--for us or anyone--because they could not have been created by a loving, good God.
When one of our children was about five years old, she began a nervous habit of rubbing her cheek with the back of her sleeve. Before long her cheek was worn quite raw. It was as uncomfortable for her as it was worrisome to us. But nothing we did got her to stop rubbing her cheek.
I prayed deeply to God to know that if there was anything I needed to know or to do to be a better parent, God would reveal it to me. I knew from past experience that I could depend on His loving care for our child, and for me as her mother. One day the thought came to me that the child had this nervous habit because I was such a critical mother! Immediately, however, God's own mothering love was there to heal both me and my daughter with the assurance: ``No! This child is the flawless child of God, and so are you!" I was surprised by this! I had never thought of my daughter, or of myself, as flawless. But God did!
That momentary understanding of man's flawless, God-created perfection brought healing to our situation by showing me a glimpse of reality. The nervous habit stopped that day, and our daughter's face returned to normal within three days. I also began to watch my own thinking and behavior more thoughtfully to be sure that I was not a critical mother.
Reality, as God knows it, is always good. As we turn away from the human predicament to a spiritual understanding of the facts, we find more evidence in our lives of healing and regeneration. We are seeing spiritual reality.