Who we really are

A Christian Science perspective: Find peace in your identity.

The Monitor’s Focus story sheds light on those struggling with gender issues. Such a struggle deserves an answer to the question “Who am I, really?” On the surface, identity may seem defined by our ethnic roots and gender, but these material circumstances can’t get to the core of who we truly are. Everyone’s real identity and individuality are spiritual, and the understanding of this can bring us a sense of our precious worth and give us peace.

The Bible presents this view of our identity as being “very good” (Genesis 1:31). God, divine Love, created us in the likeness of Love’s goodness and purity. The rightness of this God-­derived spiritual identity is emphasized in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, which states simply: “Man’s spiritual individuality is never wrong. It is the likeness of man’s Maker” (p. 491). Unburdened by material limitations, spiritual individuality is whole and complete, including every Godlike quality – integrity, strength, tenderness, gentleness, love, and so on.

Even a glimpse of our spiritual individuality broadens and uplifts our lives to express God’s goodness. It has a transforming influence on our concept of ourselves that leads to a profound change from matter-based to spiritually oriented identity as God’s own beloved children. Self-worth rooted in Spirit, God, gives a deep sense of value that nothing else can. Because spiritual individuality comes from infinite, ever-present Love, the truth of who we are is always present for every one of us to find.

Mrs. Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, asks, “How shall we reach our true selves?” The answer is brief and simple: “Through Love” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 104), which highlights something the Apostle Paul wrote to his fellow Christians in Corinth. Paul, a devoted follower of Christ Jesus, spoke of the spiritual gifts we are all given by God and what truly defines our purpose and being. In the following beloved passage, Paul describes “agape,” powerful, healing spiritual love, which the King James Version of the Bible translates as charity: “Love is patient, love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude, never selfish, nor quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over other men’s sins, but delights in the truth” (I Corinthians 13:4-6, The English Bible). Deeply spiritual love such as this constitutes the truth of our identity, and gives us strength to rise above any other concept of our origin and character.

Wherever we are in our individual spiritual journey, we can lift thought to our highest nature of love, integrity, purity, and innocence. As we reach a higher recognition of this powerful spiritual love – this agape, which defines us as spiritual individuals – we can find a way to treasure our own worth, and freely extend to each individual the lovingkindness and respect that God shines on us all.

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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.

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