One day a male friend came into my office, shut the door, grabbed me, and kissed me. I was startled, repulsed, and pushed him away. He was married and so was I – but not to each other. At first I was horrified and afraid, but quickly, in that moment, I turned to prayer, which has been my go-to in times of trouble.
I was surprised when a wave of compassion suddenly came over me. I looked at this man (who was clearly flustered and embarrassed) and thought, “He’s a good man, a God-created man.” In no way was I disregarding his behavior, but my prayer was showing me something different about him in that moment than I had seen in his actions. We had a brief conversation, and when he left, he apologized. I saw him several times over the next few years and our relationship was friendly and without a hint of his earlier behavior.
While this moment of spiritual clarity might seem unexpected, I had been learning from my study of Christian Science about a view of manhood that is distinctly different from what I’d just experienced. The man of God’s creating is spiritual, expressing all the qualities of his creator. The mortal concept of manhood, motivated by power, lust, and control, is not the real man, which is the general term for all men and women, as God’s creation. The mortal concept of man is actually a mistaken view, governed by the destructive desires inherent in mortality. These desires don’t come from God, who created all as spiritual, pure, loving, and good.
I began to understand this concept of man’s true spiritual nature through studying a book called “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy. It states: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476-477).
When we recognize the true nature of the man of God’s creating, the mortal view of man is seen to be a lie. And often, offensive outward behavior fades and remarkable changes become apparent. That day in my office I witnessed such a change. Seeing this individual spiritually, as God’s child, wholly good, I noticed an abrupt shift in his demeanor and actions. While my experience is mild in comparison to what we’re hearing about in the news, the spiritual fact of man’s goodness and immortality remains available and powerful in all situations.
Each of us can have this kind of change in thought. In our prayers, we can endeavor to do as Jesus did – see God’s perfect man, right here, right now. This view appreciates and values true manhood and true womanhood. And rather than excusing any degrading actions, it can lift everyone above all impulses that would keep them from expressing their immortal selfhood. These changes of thought begin with each of us, but can support humanity in seeing all men and women as we truly all are.