Healing the sins of conflict

A Christian Science perspective.

When you read of unsolved conflicts in the world, you might wonder whether warring parties will ever be ready to make peace. Both sides believe they are right, and self-justification hardens their positions.

The Bible book of James gives a blunt but helpful summary of the reason for conflicts, and their solution: “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?... Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:1, 7).

If we are to lift the burdens of conflict from humanity, we must heal “the lusts that war” in the human heart, meaning sin. The Bible teaches in many places that sin is the opposite of the holiness of God. It is an evil impulse or suggestion that, if accepted into our thought, causes us to disobey the law of Love, God, and kill our brother man. The Scriptures urge us to follow the moral and spiritual laws of God because that is the way to resist sin and escape from it.

It was often the sufferer from sin who came to Jesus to be healed. Christ Jesus’ method of healing sin was based on the reality of Spirit, God, and the unreality of evil. The Christ-spirit that Jesus expressed caused people to recognize that sin did not have power over them and enabled them to give it up in favor of the goodness of God. He saved people from evils such as hatred, dishonesty, injustice, and greed – the sins that cause conflict and war.

The Christ, being the ever-present manifestation of God, awakens sinners to their sinless purity as God’s sons and daughters. Jesus could say to a person, “[G]o, and sin no more” (John 8:11) because he knew it was possible. Expressing so completely the power of Christ, Truth, he made individuals whole who had been mentally and physically broken.

The teachings of Christian Science on sin are based on what Jesus said and did. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: “Evil is sometimes a man’s highest conception of right, until his grasp on good grows stronger. Then he loses pleasure in wickedness, and it becomes his torment. The way to escape the misery of sin is to cease sinning” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 327).

Sin is clearly no part of God, divine Mind, but must be associated with mortal mind, the source of false beliefs about real Mind and man. It is self-destructive mortal mind – or in the language of the Bible, the devil – which is both the sin and the sinner. Man as the idea of divine Mind and living under its law, is not sinful. Evil cannot deceive God’s man, cannot influence who we truly are. What divine Mind knows of each of us as His spiritual likeness, is our sinless freedom and wholeness and perfection.

Mrs. Eddy gave a daily prayer to the members of her church that, when lived, heals beyond the borders of our own lives. The prayer is: “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (“Manual of The Mother Church,” p. 41). With the overcoming of sin in ourselves, we “resist the devil,” diminish its influence in the world, and know more clearly that Christ comes to every human consciousness to free it from sin.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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