A Christian Science perspective: What's stopping you from doing what's right?

“What stopped me from doing the right thing?” We all might have asked this question at some point. Perhaps we neglected to help someone, or we had an angry outburst. We might have even gone as far as stealing from an employer. Afterward, we may have thought, “I don’t know what got hold of me. I am normally a good person.”

It’s a similar question along the lines of what St. Paul asked regarding a controversy threatening to corrupt the Christian churches in Galatians: “who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (5:7). He then tells them to stop thinking and acting contrary to the spirit of love taught by Christ Jesus and to hold to the things of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Paul added that no evil can prevail over these qualities.

If fear of saying or doing the wrong thing concerns us, we can take heart. Doing the right thing is not a mere human endeavor that can go awry at any moment. Christ Jesus showed us that the power to do good is within us as God’s children, and that we are each linked to our creator. This connection is made evident through the Christ, Truth, continually speaking to our consciousness of our true spiritual nature. Guided by this spirit of Christ, I have found that striving to express these qualities liberates us from whatever would keep us from doing the right thing. It was this understanding that helped bring healing to a situation I was in.

I had a meeting with a businessman who owed me money. Our previous transaction had turned out to be inequitable, with me on the short side of it. As I reasoned with him about the need to correct the situation, he became belligerent and rather intimidating. I saw an obstinate and dishonest man. But rather than becoming afraid, I remembered those nine qualities of the Spirit and that I couldn’t truly be hindered from expressing love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

In addition to maintaining my gentleness, I realized that I had to adjust my view of the man. I understood from Jesus’ teachings that, in truth, this man was a child of God – full of goodness and meekness. When I recognized this, the tone of our conversation changed completely. He returned my money and agreed that it was the right thing to do. As we parted, I felt a spirit of understanding between us, unified in a common bond of goodness.

The desire to do the right thing in every instance in our lives is the spirit of Christ within us, impelling us to do good and not evil. Commitment to the things of Spirit gives us the power to stay the course and experience healing. The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, explains: “‘God is Spirit;’ and we can only learn and love Him through His spirit, which brings out the fruits of Spirit and extinguishes forever the works of darkness by His marvellous light” (“Rudimental Divine Science,” p. 4).

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

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.