Don’t let negativity in – cherish good!

A Christian Science perspective: Learn the value and power of good. 

After listening to an endless stream of negative news reports, I was delighted to hear a story about two young girls who collected food to feed other people, and how a national television hostess helped them raise thousands of dollars so they could do even more (see “Waterville 2nd Graders Use Their Birthday Celebration to Help Others,” There was a wonderful sense of energy, uplift, and even regeneration about what was going on in the community. When I saw the good being done it even inspired me to rise up right then and do something good by reaching out to others with some unselfish simple deeds. To me this showed how goodness motivates right actions and deeds.

Negativity on the other hand does the exact opposite. Negativity is halting, dull, limited, uninspiring, and nonproductive. It does nothing to motivate and promotes no constructive action. Goodness, however, promotes good thoughts, unselfish deeds, and kindness toward others. It awakens, refreshes, inspires, and energizes us. But the real meaning of being and doing good goes far beyond our general sense of humanitarian goodness.

In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy gives a definition of “good” that includes the word “omni-action,” omni meaning all: “God; Spirit; omnipotence; omniscience; omnipresence; omni-action” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” p. 587). It follows then that God, who is good itself and is Spirit, is the divine power behind all good action. The goodness of God, Spirit, is spiritual. As it’s understood and lived, it brings life, freedom, energy and blessings to those who embrace it and unselfishly express it to others. The writer of Proverbs declared, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).

Christian Science teaches that God’s goodness is rich with blessings for all mankind. No one demonstrated this better than Christ Jesus. He understood God to be his Father-Mother good, and that this Father is also the Father of us all. He blessed all mankind by understanding his and everyone else’s truly good nature. Mrs. Eddy writes: “God is natural good and is represented only by the idea of goodness; while evil should be regarded as unnatural, because it is opposed to the nature of Spirit, God” (Science and Health, p. 119). It would follow then that negativity is more than just limiting.

Negativity is a negation of good – an opposition to God. It tends to tear down and stifle human goodness, and blind us to the constant presence of God’s goodness. Going back to our definition of good, however, if good is all-power and all-action, then through our understanding of good, and our living in accord with it, we can eliminate negation and prove that it has no action and therefore no power. It cannot stand in the way of God’s goodness.

Seeing no power in the negativity, the evil, that would oppose God, Christ Jesus was able to demonstrate God’s allness and omni-action – action that healed the sick, reformed the sinner, and restored the dead. He exemplified pure goodness in his God-centered life. And he showed his disciples how to demonstrate the power of divine good through healing.

This healing power is something that we can each experience today. A profound and inspired understanding of divine goodness – and our connection to God as God’s image, the image of good – not only uplifts, but brings healing in our lives and the lives of others in ways both large and small.

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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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