Refuse to be a prisoner

A Christian Science perspective: Despite oppressing circumstances, we can each find inner freedom, as displayed by Aung San Suu Kyi when she was under house arrest in Myanmar (Burma).

Aung San Suu Kyi, an ofttimes lonely champion of democracy in Myanmar (Burma), is traveling through Europe as a free person after enduring 15 years of house arrest imposed by the military rulers of her country. Early in her trip, she was asked whether she could forgive those who had placed her under house arrest. She replied, “In some ways I don’t think they really did anything to me.... I do not think I have anything to forgive them for.”

I have followed Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s struggles for some time, and her remark impressed me. As a longtime prisoner in her own home, she refused to think or act like a prisoner. Through her courage and determination, she kept mentally free.

Her comment reminds me of the Apostle Paul, who was himself a prisoner at various times. During his voyage to Rome, he and his shipmates encountered a violent storm (see Acts, Chap. 27). They feared for their lives as the ship broke up. Everyone made it safely to a nearby island. Paul, a prisoner, refused to act the part. Through his courageous trust in God, and his communion with Him through prayer, Paul acted more the leader than a prisoner. He foretold the storm, and in the midst of it, he guided and cheered his shipmates to safety. Paul kept his focus on staying mentally free, as did Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Recently I was able to take these lessons of freedom and make them practical in my own life. One day my wife and I were anticipating a fun morning of exploring scenery along the banks of a wild river near our home. After bounding out of bed, I suddenly felt nauseous. I prayed, affirming God’s loving protection. I continued with our plans despite being uncomfortable. Soon I remembered Paul’s example of refusing to act the prisoner. I realized that disease is a form of imprisonment. Like Paul, I could proclaim my innocence and freedom through taking a courageous stand for my oneness with God. In a few moments, I was completely well.

Through my study of Christian Science, I’ve found freedom from all kinds of imprisoning thoughts through prayer alone. These “imprisonments” have included severe health challenges, as well as financial, relationship, and employment difficulties. Paul’s example 2,000 years ago, and Aung San Suu Kyi’s example in recent years, helped give me the courage to fight for my mental freedom.

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