TTHERE'S been a lot of news coverage lately about battered women who kill their abusers and are sent to jail. The causes for such actions are often attributed to a "cycle of abuse." But mustn't there be a way to stop these cycles of abuse before they reach such violent conclusions?
When we're searching to resolve difficulties, prayer leads us to a clearer understanding of God that can be the basis for needed healing. This understanding shows us that we're actually subject only to God's power--to the cycle of good. Good is sustained by God because God is all-powerful. His power acts upon our lives when we turn to Him for guidance and healing. His goodness eliminates all that is unlike Himself, and thus obliterates evil in our experience.
Such a change may not happen all at once, but prayer helps us begin to see God's ability to uphold His child, who is wholly spiritual, under all circumstances. God watches over and cares for His child--you and me--uninterruptedly. We can confidently turn to God and trust His power.
Prayer not only dispels hatred, violence, anger, but it also prevents them. God's law doesn't permit evil to be acted out in recurring cycles. Because God is good, His laws are good. And His laws are all-powerful, ever present. Through prayer we can call for the enforcement of divine law in our experience.
Our innate goodness and ability to do and be good are ours by reflection from God. Because God is good, His creation man must be good also. This spiritual understanding gives us the courage to follow God's commands and to yield to His control. Yielding to God through heartfelt prayer and desire to be only in His harmonious presence, however, doesn't leave us vulnerable to abuse. Instead we find ourselves defended by God, good.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, makes clear God's control over His creation. She writes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "God controls man, and God is the only Spirit. Any other control or attraction of so-called spirit is a mortal belief, which ought to be known by its fruit,--the repetition of evil" (p. 73). The cycle of good is the rhythmic unfoldment of peace, harmony, and love within our consciousness. Awakening, through prayer, to the ever- present cycle of good restores our perception of our own and others' genuine identity as God's image and likeness. Such prayer is the basis of spiritual reformation that regenerates thought and experience. Once our thought is renewed, by our growing understanding of God, our life reflects the God-given harmony that is natural to His creation.
When an adulterous woman was brought to Christ Jesus by those who wished her to be stoned, he was not impressed by their arguments for her destruction. Instead he restored her to her innate, God-given, spiritual purity. His prayer, his recognition of her spiritual selfhood, not only prevented immediate violence, but removed any cause for the scene to be repeated. She and her accusers both benefited.
Jesus wisely taught, we read in Matthew's Gospel, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven" (5:44, 45). This doesn't mean, however, that we ignore violence or put up with any kind of abusive thinking or action. Rather it enables us to express more of our own spiritual nature--to be the children of our Father, God--and to love whatever expresse s the image and likeness of God. This love will replace inharmony with the ever-present cycle of good.