The truth that frees – and heals!

A Christian Science perspective: Understanding our true identity as God’s spiritual, perfect creation brings healing.

A deep truth brought more clearly into light can be quite powerful. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” promised Christ Jesus (John 8:32).

What is this wonderful truth he was talking about? A statement he made in a collection of teachings called the Sermon on the Mount is telling: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

It’s hard to deduce from this that Jesus meant we should be physically perfect. He taught that God is Spirit. Matter has inherent imperfections. But the divine Spirit, God, didn’t create us materially. Spirit creates spiritually, because like produces like. In Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she says, “We lose our standard of perfection and set aside the proper conception of Deity, when we admit that the perfect is the author of aught that can become imperfect, that God bestows the power to sin, or that Truth confers the ability to err” (p. 555).

When confronted with imperfection – limitation, injury, illness – Jesus brought more of God’s perfection to light through healing others. These healing works showed that God’s spiritual perfection can be brought out more and more in human experience. Jesus was proving the nature of God – of divine Truth itself – and of us as God’s spiritual image, and what he proved true remains true today.

When a friend of mine injured her mouth and teeth in an accident, she asked if I might pray with her. As I began to do so, I had the thought, “If Jesus met this woman, would he see her as perfect?” Yes, I had no doubt that he would immediately perceive the utter spiritual perfection of God fully expressed in her. I decided that, as best I could, this had to be my approach, too.

Feeling humbled by this idea, I affirmed wholeheartedly that divine Truth has always governed its creation, and that our existence is wholly, unchangeably based in God’s wonderful, spiritual perfection. There are no halfway points in this perfection or in man’s – everyone’s – reflection of it.

Within hours of the accident my friend’s mouth and teeth were completely healed. There weren’t any marks on her face at all. The truth, God’s truth, had made her free.

The Bible asks, “Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). To me, this indicates that our real identity isn’t something that becomes spiritual and whole because we’re praying. Before we even start to pray, God’s truth about what we are is already unspoiled and in place. Prayer lifts us to a better understanding of that truth, enabling us to see more evidence of it in our day-to-day experience.

This is something that we can discover for ourselves, more fully understand, and apply in our own lives, with healing results.

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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.