Released from prisons of all kinds

A Christian Science perspective: We have a God-given right to be free from inharmony, sin, and sickness.

The recent release of political prisoners from Egypt and North Korea is a welcome sign of humanity in countries where authoritarian governments rule. Still, many others remain prisoners of conscience worldwide.

Truly being free, as many have experienced, involves more than not being physically imprisoned. Being free means knowing and experiencing release from corruption, greed, violence, vengeance, cruelty, and the like. It also means finding liberty from fear.

Through study of the Bible, along with “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy, I have come to see that we can find such freedom. The biblical king Solomon stated, “God hath made man upright” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). Qualities such as fairness, honesty, health, and mercy are innate in each of us, because we are in reality the offspring of God, who is Spirit and Love. Divine Love includes only what is pure and decent. Even a glimpse of this spiritual truth can bring freedom from inharmony, sin, and sickness.

Paul, an early follower of Christ Jesus, learned this firsthand. Originally he had abused the human rights of many, zealously rounding up and imprisoning those who followed Jesus’ teachings. Then one day he literally saw the light – was touched by Christ, divine Truth – and came to realize his incorrect motives and practices. This newborn recognition and love of God brought Paul a sense of freedom he had never known before. He changed course, and his Truth-impelled change of heart brought hope, healing, and regeneration to many.

But later Paul himself would face arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment for freeing a woman from unjust domination (see Acts 16:16-26). Held in the inner section of a prison, Paul and his colleague “prayed, and sang praises unto God.” Other inmates heard them and were perhaps buoyed by their mental freedom from fear, repression, and resignation. Shortly, after a series of unlikely events, Paul and his companion were released unharmed and went on their way.

Science and Health states: “Discerning the rights of man, we cannot fail to foresee the doom of all oppression.... God made man free.... Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right” (p. 227). We all have the ability to find this freedom – to be upstanding, decent, and just – and to experience more health and harmony.

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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.

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