A healing response to identity theft

A Christian Science perspective.

Identity theft has brought great inconvenience, anxiety, and loss to millions of individuals. Many of these people have not only been deprived of their savings and credit ratings, but have become involved in disputes with banks, loan companies, and even governments as a result of their identities having been stolen.

The assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, this past February shows once again that identity fraud cannot be thought of as an inconvenience or an individual loss. The use of falsified passports from England, France, the European Union, and Australia to commit the assassination highlights the potential that identity theft has to escalate into more dangerous levels of criminality. It is like a spider’s web that snares its unwary victims and renders them powerless.

Identity theft is not a new crime. The Bible tells of how Jacob was coerced by his mother to steal his father’s blessing from his elder brother, Esau. To accomplish this crime, Jacob had to fraudulently assume his brother’s identity. His deception was easily accomplished as Isaac, their father, was old and unable to see clearly. Jacob deceived his father and secured the blessing for himself. But the penalty for the crime began to take effect almost immediately. Jacob had to flee from his home in fear for his life, as his brother had vowed to kill him. Jacob’s life from then on involved a series of misfortunes, until finally he realized the evil of his actions.

Mary Baker Eddy, in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” alerted readers to the propensity of evil to deceive when she wrote, “The looms of crime, hidden in the dark recesses of mortal thought, are every hour weaving webs more complicated and subtle.” But she continued with these challenging words: “Mankind must learn that evil is not power” (p. 102).

When confronted with the crime of assassination, however, understanding evil’s powerlessness can appear to be an impossible task. Where do we begin when a life has been taken in such a violent way? The loss of a life can never be justified, but an incident such as this should encourage us to pray even harder to understand the powerlessness of evil.

No matter how intimidating and powerful evil appears to be, the solution lies in an understanding that power belongs only to God, the divine Principle of existence and the source of everyone’s identity. This power operates through the law of good. It enforces justice and uncovers evil’s deceptive ways and means.

Our prayers, as well as our understanding of the omnipotence of divine Principle, are needed to support all those involved in fighting the crime of identity theft. Prayer is a potent force. It helps unravel the subtleties and complications that obscure the machinations of evil.

I like to think of our individual prayers as similar to the powerful beacons used by sailors who are lost at sea. These beacons send a lifesaving signal of light into the night sky, which alerts others of the need to search and rescue. In a similar way, our prayers can act as beacons of light to rescue and save those who are lost in the darkness of evil. Our assurance lies in the knowledge that the light of God’s power and presence is unassailable and can never be overcome by darkness. As the Bible says, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5).

The commitment to praying collectively for those who are the victims of crime, whether it is identity theft or any other evil, can seem a challenging or even overwhelming demand. But this selfless, caring activity is what the world needs more than anything else. It is the fulfilment of Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbor, and is the evidence of divine Principle’s powerful caring and saving law. It can bring healing solutions to everyone, including those who are caught up in crime. The universality of prayer is not limited but extends throughout the whole earth.

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