CHARLIE was terrified! He was nine years old, and the class bully said that he was going to beat Charlie up as soon as he left the school grounds. He didn't hate the bully and had no idea why the huge guy wanted to harm him.
So he did what all of us should do when we have to deal with brutality: he prayed! ``God,'' he prayed, ``I know you're all- powerful, and I know you love me, because you love all Your children. I'm going to trust You to take care of me.'' Suddenly he wasn't afraid anymore. He just walked out of the school. There was no sign of a bully. And never again was he threatened.
That happened to my husband many years ago. But brutality is something that has to be dealt with by every generation and by people of all ages, sexes, and classes. All around the world today large groups of innocent people are being treated with appalling brutality. The rest of the world watches in anguish, not quite knowing what to do. Civilization has for the most part progressed to the point where we realize that striking back at brutality with brutality doesn't heal anything.
Here in my own country, many children are afraid of going to school for fear of being shot or stabbed by a classmate! It doesn't matter whether the brutality takes place inside a school, or on a school bus, or in Bosnia. We must stop doing nothing and remember what Christ Jesus did about brutality.
Jesus was the most spiritually-minded man who ever lived. Yet he was unjustly arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. What he had done was to heal sick people, teach people how to pray to God and how to obey His law of good. Nevertheless, his enemies first scourged him with a lash. Then they nailed him to a cross, and before friends took him down from it, a soldier stabbed him.
Throughout all this brutality, he never complained, or screamed with agony, or raged at the injustice of it all. What was he doing that enabled him to rise from the tomb only three days later? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, tells us in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Jesus could have withdrawn himself from his enemies. He had power to lay down a human sense of life for his spiritual identity in the likeness of the divine; but he allowed men to attempt the destruction of the mortal body in order that he might furnish the proof of immortal life.''
Instead of escaping, Jesus prayed, the Bible tells us in Luke's Gospel: ``Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'' Jesus forgave instead of reacting with anger, resentment, bitterness, or hate. Because he expressed the love of God instead of hating, he rose from the tomb, victorious over his enemies. He proved that no matter how hard evil may try, it can't kill the Son of God, of divine Love. He set this wonderful example for all of us, for we are all sons and daughters of God, made in His
image, as we're told in the very first chapter of the Bible. In Science and Health we also read of Christ Jesus: ``He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate.''
Brutality, like some dread disease, can seem terrifyingly real. But, as Jesus taught and proved, when we put our complete trust in God, evil is powerless to harm us in any way. The best way to deal with brutality, then, is by praying, loving, and trusting God. And we can do all three all the time, at any time!