According to fiction, heroes can subdue ferocious monsters, obtain healing potions to save lives, and free trapped mortals from evil enchantments. Real-life heroes tend to be somewhat less colorful, but no less powerful in their own way. Persistence, and the ability to make possible the seemingly impossible, mark what one might call a quiet form of heroism. A good example is the work of Greg Mortenson, whose book “Three Cups of Tea” recounts his efforts to establish schools in some of the remotest parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Courage under fire is another form of heroism, and it was much in evidence on Jan. 8 when accused gunman Jared L. Loughner attacked US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, along with other people around her. It was ably expressed by a woman who grabbed Mr. Loughner’s gun cartridges when he was attempting to reload, and by two men who subdued him.
Moments of heroism such as these express the presence of love, intelligence, wisdom, strength, and goodness. They suggest how each of us can, in our own way, be a hero and turn the world in a more healing direction.
Sometimes material conditions threaten to impede our heroic nature. For some, the economic crisis continues to dull hope. Frustration with governments and social conditions has led some to passively accept an atmosphere of free-floating anger, criticism, bigotry, and hatred. Lies and innuendoes, especially those sent anonymously over the Internet, can have a similar influence.
Each of these needs to be actively resisted, just as one would resist the suggestion that engaging in illegal actions is legitimate. And every reader of this newspaper is capable of the heroic and healing action that shifts thought away from passivity and toward active insistence on divine Love as the only motivator and guide.
Taking this stand not only puts one firmly on the side of divine Love, it also protects one under the two laws Jesus gave humanity: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.... Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37, 39).
These spiritual laws demand resistance to whatever would dull our bright-shining, God-given spirituality. They also provide the opportunity to be healers following the powerful model Jesus provided.
Although he was deeply compassionate toward those in need of healing, the Master minced no words with opponents seeking to derail his healing work. At one point, he addressed the self-centered pride of people in a synagogue so directly that they were infuriated and wanted to kill him. Yet the Bible reports, “He passing through the midst of them went his way” (Luke 4:30).
Jesus’ selfless unity with Spirit protected him. His heroism when he faced his accusers and Pilate, and as he endured the crucifixion, is the highest standard of spiritual courage ever set. It has been the model for many others in the centuries since. By conquering sin, disease, and death – and showing how others could also conquer evil – he made it possible for us to be heroes, too.
In her “Message to The Mother Church for 1900,” Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Strong desires bias human judgment and misguide action, else they uplift them.... The reformer must be a hero at all points, and he must have conquered himself before he can conquer others” (p. 9). Jesus clearly saw this also. In his final remarks to his disciples he said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He overcame the world through the Christ, his consistent proof of God’s love for humanity. Christ’s rich love for each individual also gives us the right to “be of good cheer” and is a characteristic that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Anger and hatred are definitely not of good cheer, and ultimately they can’t conquer. When one is not of “Christly good cheer,” it’s worthwhile to ask what is influencing one and why. This may reveal new insights into the influences on our mental doorsteps, and how to address them in a healing manner. The willingness to challenge hateful thoughts by insisting on the reign of Love in one’s heart and life is essential if one is to truly be a healer.
Even in the dark hours, the light of Jesus’ life provides powerful examples of how to respond to hatred with healing love. His ability to view humanity through the lens of divine Spirit reveals Love’s immediate regenerating power, and encourages our own prayers on behalf of our governments, communities, and nations.
Jesus defined heroism by being a healer, and Mary Baker Eddy presented his message in a form that people can apply to better themselves and the world. All who love the Bible and the healing power of Christian Science can – and should – join him, Mrs. Eddy, and his other followers in this heroic work.
From an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.