Innocence and the armor of Love

A Christian Science perspective: Healing prayers about defending innocence.

Recent headlines have focused on the plight of children as both victims and perpetrators of violence in war zones. Whether on traditional battlefields or in guerrilla warfare, in remote villages or on inner-city street corners, Christ Jesus’ teachings show that the power of God is present to help, save, and heal.

Jesus’ mission was to lovingly lift individuals above a sense of being either a victim or perpetrator by tirelessly bringing the saving Christ, “The divine manifestation of God,” to bear on every situation, showing mankind the healing power of divine Love (see Mary Baker Eddy’s companion book to the Bible, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 583). Christ Jesus proved that God’s children, created spiritually in God’s likeness, are naturally innocent and good. Knowing that man is the pure and eternal reflection of God – of Love and Life itself – Jesus demonstrated, through healing, man’s innocence from violence, insanity, hatred, and fear.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observed that, while Jesus did not have the weapons of the world, he was armed with the understanding of God as infinite Spirit and Life (see Science and Health, pp. 48-49 and 52). As the Bible explains, infinite Spirit is the source of all creation, so our true identity is fundamentally spiritual rather than fleshly. And, as the offspring of infinite Life, it is natural for us to reflect the vitality and strength of Life. This understanding is the armor of divine Love. And it lifts us above fleshly suffering.

Jesus illustrated that wearing this impenetrable armor of God – that is, holding to the understanding of the supremacy of Love, Life, and Spirit – saves multitudes. It cuts through hatred and fear – negates them utterly – and redeems and transforms lives, proving the inherent innocence of the children of God.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (Luke 18:16, New Revised Standard Version). God’s children – all of us – are divinely bestowed with innocence and purity. And because these qualities are spiritual and permanent, they cannot be lost. This spiritual understanding shows that everyone has the capacity to feel the healing embrace of Christ.

Our collective role in healing the world today is to follow Jesus’ example by acknowledging that the true identity of each one of us is innocent and good – rooted in God. Yielding to this truth of being brings a recognition of the Christ-spirit to the world, which results in tangible healing as Christ Jesus and his followers, even today, have demonstrated (see examples of Christian healing today on ChristianScience.com). This armor of Love is available to all of God’s children, regardless of age or ethnicity. It is available to children in combat zones, regardless of what appears to be a disturbing picture, as well as to all of us who long to help those children.

As we come to understand the allness and supremacy of God, good, the impotence of evil is revealed in thought and action, individually and collectively. Thought determines action. So, when evil is reduced to nothing in the conscious presence of the allness of Love and Life, there can be no agent of evil, no avenue for evil to act, and no victims of evil.

Prayer that sees the nothingness of evil has the power to uplift those in the aftermath of tragedy. It can even uplift the view of those who might be tempted to perpetrate violence, by revealing the all-power of divine Life and Love, which illuminates a productive path for each of us. We can affirm that God has already defined us – and embraces us – and that material circumstances cannot change our spiritual identity. God has created all of us not as children embroiled in violence, but as His children – as innocent, good, and protected by the armor of Love.

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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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