'Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually." Mary Baker Eddy posed this question years before mass media dominated many cultures. Yet it would seem to be talking about the present day. Those words from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 248) call on people to be alert to the adverse influences of sensationalism, sensualism, and materialism. These all symbolize an "imperfect model" by characterizing men and women as not expressing the nature of God.
The book of Genesis in the Bible states clearly that God created man in His likeness (see 1:26). God is good and the creator of all that is real. A likeness must be true to its original. Christian Science, which Mrs. Eddy discovered, shows that each of us is in fact as good and perfect as is God, our origin. We cannot stray from perfection and become channels for evil. From these facts we can deduce that all evil in our lives must be false, part of the misconception of ourselves as fashioned after an imperfect model.
A sculptor cannot carve an angelic figure with a grotesque form either in mind or actually present as the model. In the same way, it is difficult for you or me to form accurate concepts of ourselves as good, loving, or honest when we are continually told that we and our fellow beings are in some measure corrupt, evil, and perverted.
It may be easy to say, "Yes, but this is the real world, and we have to accept it." But what is truly the real world, and what shows us who we are? To be sure, it's necessary to challenge the portrayal of ourselves as evil, as committing crime. Drawing closer to God, and understanding Him to be full of goodness, bring inspiration. This involves turning from thoughts of disruption and evil, toward good. This is not crawling into a hole and ignoring the world's problems; it is praying. And through praying diligently, we see the good that is existent within and around us.
More and more it is accepted that thought determines experience. And perfect models of thought result in more perfect circumstances. Having two diametrically opposed models doesn't bring harmonious effects. The Bible shows, and Christian Science elaborates on, the fact that we are free to choose whether we'll accept for ourselves a perfect, ideal identity as God's likeness or an imperfect, mortal identity separate from His.
The highest ideal on which to model one's life is the life of Christ Jesus. His teachings establish rules for moral behavior and bring spiritual understanding. Jesus called for us to express the noblest qualities of thought and action, and showed how this ideal is attainable. He said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48).
Your part may seem very small in working toward helping the world be free of evil, but your individual prayer is important. Prayer-learning to understand God and hear His guidance-shows that the real world belongs to God and is created by Him. Nothing can change or interfere with your finding out your relation to God. You can improve your thoughts by listening for God's guidance. Nothing can hide your ability to live the life Jesus exemplified.
To be certain that what you're holding "before your gaze continually" is in line with what God created, it's necessary to refuse to accept violence and immorality as insurmountable. Imperfect models of all kinds become less real to us, and we see the true model more clearly, when we cherish in thought God's creation-the good, the beautiful, and most important of all, the real.
Mark the perfect man,
and behold the upright:
for the end of that man