A Christian Science perspective: Don’t get swept away by negative thinking.

My husband is a sponger. No, he is not someone who lives at another’s expense; he is too honorable and self-sufficient for that. He is a sponger because he surfs waves on his bodyboard or “sponge” to use surfing vernacular. Although he always navigates back safely to shore, from watching him surf I have seen how the ocean currents can take him, unknowingly, way up the coast.

This is not unlike the kind of mental currents that we may find ourselves in – thinking on a past conversation or even a fearful picture of the future, when we were innocently working at our desk or driving down the road. These moments of mental drifting may seem innocuous but can also be disturbing. Ignoring this mental wandering can lead to problems, because it leaves us distracted or caught in a current of captivating fear or unwise behavior. But, just as a surfer expertly maneuvers through ocean currents to keep safe, we can navigate away from unhealthy thought currents to safer and healthier contemplations.

To do this, it's helpful to understand that God or infinite Mind is the source of all goodness, and His ideas can promote only good. The prophet Jeremiah assures us that, as God’s children, we have health-giving ideas from the divine creator who loves and guides us. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11).

The power of this biblical truth is that God leads us not toward evil, but always toward peace and good – toward the spiritual ideas that bring divine blessing to us. Fearful or harmful ideas oppose God’s nature, and therefore have no place in the divine Mind and have no divine impetus. A deep awareness of this fact means more to both our health and safety than we may realize.

Healing the sick, reforming sinners, and raising the dead to life, Christ Jesus showed that as God’s children, we have no relationship with sickly or sinful thoughts and behaviors. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, wrote, “Jesus taught us to walk over, not into or with, the currents of matter, or mortal mind.” (“Unity of Good,” p. 11).

Mortal mind, meaning the human mind with its fears and misconceptions, its thoughts of sin, sickness, and death, is what Jesus taught us to rebuke and turn from. Teaching us to pray to “Our Father which art in heaven,” Jesus reveals our true nature as spiritual and governed by God’s divine power and love. Turning to God in prayer, shuts out destructive thinking to make room for divine inspiration, the spiritual truth of our being, which promotes constructive thoughts and actions. The Lord’s Prayer includes, “and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).

The promise of this prayer is that God delivers us from unhealthy thinking. He causes us to hold to thoughts of good, ideas that transform our thinking, our health, and our character for the better.

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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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.