The power of ‘let’

A Christian Science perspective: Looking to Jesus’ example to effect healing change.

In today’s world there seems to be a lot of evidence of “pushing” to try to make things happen. We see it in the actions of extremist groups, in governments, within special interest factions of society – the list goes on.

In thinking about current methods being used to effect change in the world, questions arise. Is this attempt to outmuscle the opposition truly effective? Is there a way to see progress without a bulldozer approach that takes little thought of what might get flattened in its wake?

As I pray about our world, I’m learning from Jesus’ example to take a different approach. He changed the world. People were healed, storms were stilled, the hungry were fed. Did he push his way forward to make things happen?

On the contrary. He demonstrated the power of humility. He felt an inextricable connection to God. He knew he didn’t possess a personal power of his own. In fact he even said, “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). And, “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10).

This Christly aspect of Jesus gives us an example to follow in our efforts to help. He taught that in spiritual reality, we are God’s children and that we can draw on this sacred connection, through prayer, as he did. He said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also” (John 14:12).

The founder of this publication, Mary Baker Eddy, gives a prayer that helps us bear witness to God’s incredible power to effect good. It begins by quoting a line of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come,” and goes on, “let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me...” (“Manual of The Mother Church,” p. 41).

To me that means asking that the government of God, which already exists in spiritual reality, be brought right into my conscious awareness. The word “let” means allow. It also means “don’t get in the way of.” But this isn’t a passive state of waiting to see what will happen. It is an active prayerful practice of recognizing that in God’s allness there can’t be any opposing factors.

This hints at something far more effective than personally pushing one’s agenda forward through resisting opposition. It means that the power of God – to bring peace, to restore loss, to heal humanity’s pain – is right at hand.

I do understand the urge to push things. Throughout my early years, I was impelled to do things from a place of “if I don’t make it happen it won’t.” My path was strewn with evidence of pushing to the extreme. Things did happen, but people felt stepped on, feelings were hurt, and I was never truly happy with the results.

Through various life experiences I have learned to approach things very differently. I have found that instead of pushing a personal agenda for a certain result, it’s important to prayerfully let go of any human will. This opens the way for us to see God’s work. The results have proved to me the value of taking this approach. And the life lesson has been enormous. I’m much less pushy and, as a result, find a flow to my days that speaks to me of God at work, governing in much better ways than I could outline.

Taking this idea of letting, rather than pushing, to the world stage has important implications. Consciously letting God’s will be done, rather than our will or our group’s will, frees us to be open to infinite possibilities for good. The promise is there. We can practice it in our individual lives, pray about it for our world, and thereby help lift others from the intensity of human push.

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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.