The recent burning of black Christian churches in the U.S.A. is an attack on innocent people. Innocence is often thought of as weakness or vulnerability to attack. But innocence that comes from knowledge of God, who is omnipotent Truth, is not vulnerable; it is strength.
Innocence and truth go hand in hand, as part of the nature of God. God's law is the only real law of the universe. That evil can be victorious over God's law is a misconception. Are the churches to be sacrificed in the name of hatred? No. A helpful way to discern the permanence of true innocence is in terms of God's goodness and all-power. God made us in His spiritual image and likeness; therefore we reflect all of God's goodness. The innocence of God's creating represents freedom from sin, as well as disease and death.
Any quality of thought that is unlike God must be exposed and destroyed. The fact that God is Truth reveals evil to be false. Evil, in whatever form it takes, cannot hide behind a mask of secrecy, for it has no truth, substance, or power, except as illusion.
As the third millennium approaches there is great fear among certain people of apocalyptic upheavals. The destruction of innocent targets, with no apparent cause, gives one pause to ask, "What is going on here?" Hatred, in whatever form, assumes power and control through fear. But it has no basis or law to uphold it because God does not support it. So it is in fact an unreality. Millennial destruction is a contradiction in itself; the word millennium is symbolic of infinity, timelessness, and eternity. Apocalyptic fate has power only inasmuch as we believe it to be a possibility.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "Evil thoughts and aims reach no farther and do no more harm than one's belief permits. Evil thoughts, lusts, and malicious purposes cannot go forth, like wandering pollen, from one human mind to another, finding unsuspected lodgment, if virtue and truth build a strong defence" (pp. 234-235). Prayer to God is effective when it denies evil any potency and affirms God to be the only power, presence, or source of action. Such prayer proves that God is unopposable and evil impotent.
But what about the burned and damaged churches and their faithfully devoted congregations? The Bible says Jesus Christ made this comforting declaration to his disciples: "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). Those worshipers of God, who gather in His name, have the Christ, the divine influence, in their midst. This protects them. Their undivided faith and spiritual conviction give strength to their churches. This cannot be destroyed. The Church is supported by God. The Church rests on that very power of innocence and truth, and on the love of God that is expressed. Those who gather in God's name are defended. And the physical church structures will be rebuilt through faith in the fact that it is God's nature to care for His own.
Jesus followed his declaration quoted above with a lesson about forgiveness. One of his disciples, Peter, asked, "How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" Jesus said, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven" (verses 21, 22). Holding on to the feeling that we've been wronged leads into the traps of bitterness and revenge, which do not heal, but instead amplify discord.
A gospel song includes the refrain, "Love lifted me! / Love lifted me! / When nothing else could help, / Love lifted me." God is divine Love. He is with us now-not in some far-off place. He lifts us out of the grip of fear, erases hatred, and in so doing cancels sin and heals the sinner.
Humankind does not have to consent to any evil, violence, or superstition. They are no part of God, and so cannot supersede His authority, His law of good. Those who appear to be victimized can find help by recognizing that God is the only power. This is standing in the light of Truth. And this brings healing to the victimizers as well.
Sin, hatred, and violence destroy themselves. This is proved when we adhere faithfully to divine Love. God loves His creation-and upholds and protects all.