Recently I tried to withdraw some cash from an ATM and was surprised to find that the request was denied. According to bank personnel, the debit card had been compromised through the ATM, and a substantial sum had been stolen from my account, leaving a negative balance. Fortunately I was reimbursed within a short time.
This incident reminded me again to be vigilant in the face of the computer hacking, telephone scams, credit-card fraud, etc., so prevalent in these times. But it also got me to thinking more deeply about how an individual can make a contribution to counteracting such behavior for the benefit of all.
One way I’m finding helpful is to cultivate a deeper sense of good, or God, as the actual governing power in our experience. No one would deny that it appears there are influences at work attempting to persuade individuals to steal from others. Yet an inspired reading of the Bible makes a strong case that God’s power and authority are supreme and can be proved in everyday life.
The Bible teaches – and illustrates throughout its pages – the saving, healing power of the one God as infinite good, as Love, as our lawgiver, the source of all true justice. Also, the Bible implies that God is Mind and Truth (see, for example, Romans 11:34 and Psalms 100:5, respectively). And it points us to a higher concept of man, not as an unavoidably sinful mortal, but as the very image of Truth, governed and motivated by the goodness of the divine Mind.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes in the Christian Science textbook: “In divine Science, man is the true image of God. The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, – thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 259).
With so much dishonesty and selfishness apparent in news reports, it can be a struggle to elevate (or even want to elevate) our perception of those who seem bent on stealing. But a greater effort to identify others, as well as ourselves, from a higher standpoint as God’s image – motivated by God alone and including all good from Him – can help.
We appreciate it when someone discerns something good about us beyond what may be readily apparent. It often helps to bring out the best in us. You might conclude, then, that prayer that acknowledges the spiritual truth of someone, when the very opposite seems the case, is beneficial. And I know that also applies to the perpetrators involved in the ATM incident.
Another way we can help counteract theft is to be honest in our own dealings, even in the smallest matters. This puts more weight on the right side in the scale of thought and action. It serves to promote justice and love rather than injustice and selfishness.
Practicing honesty, even in the routine occurrences of daily life, is an indication of what each one of us really is – the sinless, spiritual expression of God. And it’s a good way to contribute to a diminishing of dishonest behavior in society.