During much of my teenage years I felt as if I was out of place. I worried about how others thought about me and tried to be a person I thought others would like. I jumped from school to school and felt adrift in the world. I had been to a Christian Science Sunday School when I was younger, but I had turned from that path and didn’t know how to go back. However, the truths I learned in my youth never left me.
In an attempt to calm my fears about acceptance, I started using drugs and alcohol. In order to sustain this habit, I cultivated an unproductive lifestyle that included selling drugs.
At one point, a person I was selling drugs for came to my home when I was alone and accused me of stealing from him. I could tell he was not in his right mind, and that he was ready to use violence to get a confession out of me regardless of what the truth might be. He tied me up and began threatening me with a weapon. An argument ensued during which I felt as if I was pleading for my life.
As the threats continued I realized the only thing that would save me was keeping my thought on the truth. I clung to an idea written on the wall of the Christian Science church I attended as a child that said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). All I could hold on to at that moment was that I was innocent, and I knew it. I felt God protecting me, and I stopped trying to defend myself. I told this man that no matter what I said, or what he did, the truth that I was innocent could not be changed. Within minutes he had untied me and left my home without any violence or repercussions. This and other experiences caused me to turn more consistently to God and eventually led me back to full reliance on God’s loving care through the study and practice of Christian Science.
In challenging circumstances or times of confusion, it’s helpful to know that an acknowledgment of our innocence as beloved children of God can bring peace and safety to our lives. This inherent innocence doesn’t mean we are free to sin without fear of consequences because God loves us. On the contrary, because God loves us, and because we are made in His likeness, it is natural – and important – for us to let go of bad habits and leave them behind. Mary Baker Eddy, the Monitor’s founder, writes in the textbook on Christian Science: “Sorrow for wrong-doing is but one step towards reform and the very easiest step. The next and great step required by wisdom is the test of our sincerity, – namely, reformation” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 5).
As we turn honestly to the reality of our being, desiring to live the goodness that constitutes us, we find that Truth reaches us wherever we are, and we can never be placed outside of divine Love’s care. The children of God are exempt from guilt, fear, or attacks of any kind because as God’s image, or expression, we have never been capable of wrongdoing.
Mrs. Eddy writes: “You command the situation if you understand that mortal existence is a state of self-deception and not the truth of being” (p. 403). Rather than choosing to submit to fear and intimidation, we can trust in the truth. The truth of our being is not based on material circumstance. We are innocent because we are wholly spiritual, not because we are mortals who are forgiven for crimes and free to commit more. Innocence is a divine right and a spiritual fact. Proving that in our lives reveals that man is made in God’s likeness, always at home in ever-present Mind.