The power of understanding God's goodness
A Christian Science perspective: As we gain a measure of understanding of God’s power and authority, we can become a stronger force for good.
—In recent months, the world has seen what appears to be raw power on display: threats of nuclear war between nations, physical violence fueled by racial and religious hatred, ethnic cleansing, and other elements of cruelty, terror, and revenge.
But are these really the most significant indications of power in operation?
Not long ago, I read a blog about the power of ideas. The writer pointed out that an idea has unlimited power in part because it can “change someone’s behavior both immediately and years into the future,” and that it gains power as it “grows in expression.”
In thinking about this, it occurred to me that our lives are indeed shaped powerfully by ideas. Take, for example, some of my favorites: the foundational ideas within the Ten Commandments and the healing ideas put forth through Christ Jesus’ teaching and ministry. I’ve found that even thousands of years later, they continue to guide us forward. They help us see that God cares for us all, and that we are God’s spiritual, inherently good creation.
The Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, spent her life exploring these ideas, which led her to the discovery of Christian Science. She came to see that goodness is the law of God, divine Truth. Even though it does not always appear this way, the spiritual fact remains that all power actually belongs to God alone, the infinitely good creator. Mrs. Eddy wrote, “There is divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 134). This can encourage us that evils such as injustice, hate, or vengefulness aren’t as lasting or powerful as they seem, and this understanding can bring healing.
I witnessed this a number of years ago, when I was in the advertising business. I had just left a small ad agency, where I’d been a managing partner, and the owner was quite unhappy that I’d left. There were even threats of legal action against me, to try to force me to pay half of the large debt the agency had incurred over the past year.
One morning the owner called me at home and told me that a key client had requested a wrap-up meeting and analysis of the marketing work we’d recently completed for them. They wanted to meet with me alone, since I had worked directly on the account.
I agreed to meet with the client, but there was serious potential for ugliness here. The owner would not release to me the records or notes of the marketing plan we’d developed for this client, citing confidentiality. It felt to me like I was being set up to fail.
At that point, my preparation for the meeting shifted away from trying to recall all the facts, figures, strategies, etc. Instead, I began praying, something I’ve often found helpful. As I affirmed the superiority of God, good, over any other seeming power, feelings of resentment and unpreparedness fell away.
The meeting went forward with goodwill, appreciation, and clarity. I was able to represent our work accurately, and to represent both the agency and the client in a fair and favorable light.
When I met with the agency owner afterward, I shared with her the client’s thanks for the agency’s work, and the great news that they wanted to continue working with the agency even though I was no longer going to be there. An additional outcome was that the threat of legal action against me was dropped. And some time later, I was able to voluntarily pay a substantial amount toward settling the agency’s debt.
Our true identity, created in the likeness of God, divine Spirit, is wholly good and spiritual. All the strength of the one infinite, divinely loving Father-Mother is ours to express. And as we gain a measure of understanding of the power and authority of God, and of God’s never-ending love and care, we’ll each become a stronger force for good right where we are.