YOU may feel your past is full of awful things and wonder if there is any hope for you. There certainly is! No matter what has happened to you or what you have done in the past, there is abundant hope for the future because we all have the example of Christ Jesus and the promise of God's nurturing care. But to wash away self-hate, anger, limitation, and distrust, we need to gain an understanding of our unstained purity as God's loved, wholly spiritual children.
And, believe it or not, the first step is the desire to have a better life and to be closer to God. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes: ``Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds'' (p. 1). Think of it! The desire for a better life, for more harmony and freedom, is prayer! You probably didn't even realize yo u were already praying.
Christ Jesus' life provides us with numerous healings that show us that prayer brings complete freedom. The insane man told about in Mark's Gospel (see 5:1-15), for example, whose distresses were so numerous that he was called ``Legion,'' didn't require years of therapy to be returned to his ``right mind.'' But he did need the clarifying spiritual view of creation that Jesus held. This restored the individual to sanity.
While I was in college, I took a number of psychology and child-development classes. Some of the scenarios given of childhood experiences and later effects were similar to what I was seeing in my own life, and without realizing it, I began to view myself as damaged and to say, ``That's why I'm the way I am!''
But when I wanted to know how to fix the damage, I discovered that while years of therapy might offer improvement, there was never an expectation that real healing would occur, never a solid hope for the kind of healing described in the Bible. I rebelled against this. I knew there was hope available. What I'd read in the Bible and what I'd seen in my study and practice of Christian Science had shown me so much more.
I began to study the Bible and Science and Health more earnestly. My study and prayer helped me to reject the false views of man that were being put forward in my classes. I could claim that man is spiritual, the child of God, and that God is the only Parent. We are made in His image and likeness, and maintained by Him at all times. Problems do need to be uncovered and specifically dealt with, but because our true nature is God's likeness, problems aren't truly a part of me, or of anyone.
I'd like to be able to say that since I did that thinking about my true nature, I've never had another problem. But that's not the case. What I can honestly say, though, is that there's been lots of improvement. I now lead a full and satisfying life and look forward to continued spiritual growth and progress. To overcome problems takes more than just putting them out of thought. They need to be resolved through the demonstration of man's harmonious, Godlike being. Sound overwhelming? It's not, when we re alize that, as the Apostle Paul declares in his first letter to the Corinthians, ``we have the mind of Christ'' (2:16).
As we ponder what it means to have ``the mind of Christ,'' we can see the freedom and power this fact implies. Because we reflect the divine Mind, we have unlimited spirituality, ability, and strength. We're actually the very emanation of God, showing forth His goodness and harmony. This has always been true of us. Therefore, we can put it into practice and gain our freedom from evil--past, present, and future.