Countering fear by seeing God’s man

A Christian Science perspective: How can we pray to overcome the fear induced by terrorism?

Fear instilled by acts of terror is disturbing many people these days. How can we pray to keep from being afraid, and thus help deprive such tactics of their aim to dominate through fear?

The Bible tells us: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (I John 4:18, NRSV). To love our enemies, as Christ Jesus calls on us to do, (see Matthew 5:44) and to understand how love can cast out fear – and how that can be practical – may seem a daunting, if not impossible, task. But it comes into the realm of possibility when we realize that God loves all His children, who, in truth, are made spiritual and good (see Genesis 1:26, 27) – and that God’s love is all-powerful.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains in her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “When speaking of God’s children, not the children of men, Jesus said, ‘The kingdom of God is within you;’ that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God’s image is unfallen and eternal. Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476, 477).

This is to say that the picture of man as fallen and capable of the grossest evil is a foul imposition on man, and on our view of man. It has its roots in the materialistic conviction that we are separate from God, with a mind of our own that can be evil or good. If we are to see the true man that Jesus spoke of and bring healing, we must begin with the understanding of man’s true spiritual identity, in which Truth and Love reign – not evil. Praying to mentally separate evil from our view of people, and seeing it as a mistaken sense of man – having no actual power – is a powerful expression of the kind of spiritual love that can help free us from being victims and victimizers.

This was demonstrated when a young woman was walking along in a city and a man stepped up to her, poked a pistol in her stomach, and made her get into his car, which was there by the curb. As they drove away from the city, at first the woman was terrified, but she had learned from Christian Science how to see the real, spiritual nature of man and how this view could be felt as a redeeming influence that brings healing. Separating the wicked act from the man in her thought, she felt led to say to him: “You’re a good person. You’re not a bad person.” She spoke with him at some length about God’s love for him.

Soon the conversation shifted to the car, which the man was proud to talk about. He bragged about how good a driver he was, said he could get the woman back to town in three minutes, and did just that. He let her out of the car and left. The woman had told the man something of his true nature as the child of God, and he responded by bringing the woman back unhurt. So she was protected from harm, and he was protected from evildoing.

Each individual, whether he seems to be a terrorist, a tyrant, or anything else, is in reality the spiritual expression of God, manifesting His love – showing that love, unselfishness, truthfulness, and wisdom are natural to man. Cherishing this spiritual view of others in our hearts, we discover that spiritual love like this conquers our fears and helps us see and experience that we, and all, are truly spiritual and safe.

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