“What if genuine goodness isn’t as fragile as it can seem?” Today’s contributor explores the idea of God as the source of limitless spiritual good for all.

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When a friend feels hopeless about the possibility of future goodness in life – when he or she feels sure that good times are permanently over and done with – is there some kind of encouragement that might help? Optimism is nice, but there are times that call for more than optimism.

I’ve found a good starting point for working through and beyond those discouraging feelings is to consider this: What if genuine goodness isn’t as fragile as it can seem?

Nelson Mandela said, “Man’s goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished.” This points to a real and lasting goodness that doesn’t come from an economy, a mortal body, an environment, a season of the year, and so forth – and therefore is not vulnerable to fear, lack, resentment, variable economic trends, envy, illness.

Where could such an unalterable goodness originate?

Christian Science explains that true goodness is everlasting and spiritual, because its origin is God, the ever-present divine Mind. God is utterly, purely good. To know that good actually originates in God is to know a fuller contentment and fearlessness. The Christian Science Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, points out in “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896” that, “According to the Scriptures, – St. Paul declares astutely, ‘For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things,’ – man is incapable of originating: nothing can be formed apart from God, good, the all-knowing Mind” (p. 71).

We are each specifically created to show forth the nature and content of God’s pure goodness. God never changes or dissipates, and neither does the rich goodness that God is expressing in His spiritual creation. Because our true, spiritual identity is indivisible from God, time can’t sever us from His goodness. Circumstances and trends can’t, either. To affirm this is powerful prayer.

A friend of mine has a business that, some time ago, was failing because of economic conditions in his country. Steadily over time, he based his prayers on the idea that God is the only provider of true goodness, and that he, his employees, and his customers were all the blessed beneficiaries of this spiritual goodness. He consistently identified himself and everyone as constant recipients of an overflowing divine goodness.

My friend made an effort to devote more of his thoughts to the presence of God’s goodness, rather than getting mired in negativity. As his active love for and acknowledgment of God, good, grew, so did his awareness of that good around him. Solutions and opportunities arose in unexpected ways that benefited the business, employees, and customers alike. Today, his business is thriving.

Christ Jesus stated, “There is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). This statement has such far-ranging significance for each of us. Only God provides genuine goodness – goodness that is spiritually permanent – and He does this unceasingly.

This is grounds for more than just optimism. Even as the world changes rapidly around us, we can discover through prayer that in spiritual reality, we keep only the good – God’s goodness, which lasts forever – and see more of that goodness day by day.

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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.

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