Watching what we bring home
God gives us the tools to combat encroachment.
Nonnative species are traveling around the globe as unwitting hosts carry them home from their travels. In some instances, the newcomers have made themselves at home and become distinct nuisances – for instance, Zebra mussels from the Caspian Sea are now found in abundance in the Great Lakes drainage.
Fortunately, not all such hitchhikers have unbridled success.
In 2004, when a type of alga was discovered in New Zealand, environmentalists were able to trace its introduction to specific human activity and come up with a strong and practical plan to keep it from spreading (see The Christian Science Monitor, Mar. 1, 2007).
Combating the spread of weeds, imported or otherwise, is an ongoing effort. Think dandelions if you need to bring it close to home.
When I visit Oregon, I always notice the pretty signs adorned with flowers with this stern admonition: CONTROL NOXIOUS WEEDS – IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. I've found that the same goes for attitudes and influences I can pick up from the mental atmosphere that would find a home in my thought.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, wrote about such mental influences. She stated succinctly, "You must control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control you in the second" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 234).
To me, this implies the need to watch and be vigilant – to accept into my thought only such attitudes and actions that bless and promote everyone's progress. And to actively and quickly get rid of any thoughts that don't.
A piece of advice I find so helpful in doing this is, "Stand porter at the door of thought…. The issues of pain or pleasure must come through mind, and like a watchman forsaking his post, we admit the intruding belief, forgetting that through divine help we can forbid this entrance" (pp. 392-393).
Sometime ago, I found myself holding the awful thought that if a particular family member would disappear from my life, it would solve a host of problems. I harbored this mood for several weeks while feeling terribly guilty about it. How could I think such a horrible thing?
It was when I woke up to the way I was being deluded that I began to actively refute the thought whenever it arose. I not only refused to accept it as my thinking but also accepted that as a child of God I was in fact loving and kind and able to see this person as such as well.
Within just a week or so, these thoughts were eradicated, and family relationships were improved as well.
Whether we see ourselves as stewards of the earth or vigilant keepers of our thought, we are all under the command to "watch."
We have divine authority to admit only such thoughts as are good and useful and also to reject those that are detrimental to our health and well-being. God, the source of all our ideas and volition, gives us the tools needed to combat encroachment and to make good decisions that will bless everyone. Maintaining this vigilance and exercising our God-given authority are nuisance control of the highest order.
I will say of the Lord,
He is my refuge and my fortress:
my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee
from the snare of the fowler,
and from the noisome pestilence....
He shall give his angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalms 91:2, 3, 11