What are you letting into your house?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

My dad was a police officer. When I was a child, he told me a sad fact that has stuck with me: Many victims know their murderers and willingly open the door to let them in. The lesson was that I should think carefully about whom I was letting into the house, especially if no adult was home. And I did.

Later I learned that Jesus taught his students a similar lesson. He pointed out: "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe" (Luke 11:21, New International Version). He also said, "What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:37, NIV).

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, explained that what Jesus wanted people to watch was their thought. In her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she noted that in the Bible "house" is sometimes a term to describe "consciousness." She explored in detail the implications of this for one's mental and physical health. She observed that what is admitted into thought determines the quality of health. She advised: "Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously" (page 392).

So, when anger, frustration, fear, or the symptoms of disease bang for admission on the door of thought, do we have to let them in? Do we have to accept them?

Several years ago, I suddenly became deaf in one ear. Because I'd had quick and complete cures of everything from flu to a dislocated shoulder through Christian Science treatment, I relied on this method in this case.

Because the deafness scared me so much, and because I didn't want to scare others, I told no one about it. I owned a small company that was at a critical juncture in a major project, so I took no time off work. However, every spare moment for three days and three nights I studied the Bible and Science and Health. I also wrote down and memorized passages that comforted and inspired me.

For example, this verse from Proverbs assured me that hearing is a sacred part of God's creation: "Ears that hear and eyes that see - the Lord has made them both" (Prov. 20:12, NIV). And this description from Science and Health awakened me to the essentially spiritual, nonphysical nature of perception, including hearing: "EARS. Not organs of the so-called corporeal senses, but spiritual understanding.

"Jesus said, referring to spiritual perception, 'Having ears, hear ye not?'" (Mark viii. 18.)" (page 585).

Whenever I felt afraid, day or night - either because I couldn't hear the discussion at a large conference table or because I remembered that a friend had recently had an ear operation and I feared I might need one, too - I turned to spiritual facts such as these and admitted only them into my consciousness. I refused to accept that God, infinite Love and pure goodness, would let His children lose anything good.

On the third night I woke up in a sweat. I had been sleeping on my "good" ear and because of the deafness in the other, I couldn't hear the usual night noise of the busy city in which I lived. In fact, I could hear nothing but silence. At that moment I turned to God with my whole heart. I prayed for Him to open my eyes and ears to His unceasing care for us all. I admitted that perception and hearing are not a function of matter, but of divine Mind. I accepted that nothing can stop God from hearing, so nothing can stop us - His children, His likeness - from hearing, either. I prayed until I was no longer afraid. Then I fell asleep.

I didn't think again about my ears till late the next morning. I was talking on the phone with a client when I realized the deafness was gone. I could hear perfectly, and I've had no trouble with my ears since.

Each of us can bar our doors against thoughts that would rob us of our God-given peace, health, and abilities. No matter how insistently they may bang at the door, we do not have to let them in.

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