We can help lessen evil

Are we helpless in the face of evil? Not according to the Bible. We can make progress in ameliorating evil by challenging it on the basis of God’s allness – for our own benefit and the benefit of others.

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The question of evil affects all of us. It’s not a subject that can be glossed over or avoided. But neither is it something to fear. The teachings of Christian Science offer a response to the challenge of evil, based squarely on the ideas and example of Christ Jesus, that can bring progress in ameliorating it, for our own benefit and the benefit of others.

Christ Jesus, who came to save humanity from evil in all its forms, was realistic about evil. He often sharply rebuked it, exposing the hypocrisy and cruelty of the religious leaders called Pharisees, for instance. He spared evil no condemnation. But his sense of evil was vastly different from the common view of it. He recognized the wickedness of it, but also the illusiveness of it.

Jesus saw all things from the standpoint of God, his Father, infinite Love. As the Son of his Father he possessed, without measure, the consciousness of good and its supremacy. He had a spiritual understanding of good’s all-power that gave him dominion over evil and the ability to free individuals from it.

One time, in rebuking the Pharisees, Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

A key point that Jesus was making was that evil has no basis in re­ality. “There is no truth in him,” he said. No truth – no reality – in evil. Referring to this Bible passage, Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Jesus’ definition of devil (evil) explains evil. It shows that evil is both liar and lie, a delusion and illusion. Therefore we should neither believe the lie, nor believe that it hath embodiment or power; in other words, we should not believe that a lie, nothing, can be something, but deny it and prove its falsity” (“Christian Science versus Pantheism,” p. 5).

The truth of being is that evil can have no place in the universal government of divine Love. With Love being infinite and governing universally, evil cannot be a real presence. It can’t threaten Love’s universal family, which includes all of us. This kingdom of God, this allness of divine Love in which Love is supreme, is here right now. It’s something we can begin to understand spiritually, through our innate spiritual sense and love for God. And through prayer, we can prove Love’s presence and power increasingly, in proportion to our understanding of it.

To this end, our unselfish prayers for humanity are always needed. But the work of destroying evil begins right at home, with our daily demonstrations that prove the allness of good in our own lives.

If relations with a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor turn angry, hateful, or contentious, this is an opportunity to put down evil and prove what we understand of good’s supremacy. Reaching out unselfishly in prayer to the truth of being, we can let go of our reactions, fears, and resentments. Every child of God is the image of the one divine Mind that is God. We can allow the oneness of Mind and the unity of Mind’s ideas, Mind’s offspring, to fill our thought. Therefore we are all in accord with each other because we all express the same Mind. The perception of this, blended with charitableness and forgiveness, can restore normal, harmonious relations.

Each day can provide opportunities for putting down evil’s claim to reality. Our loving prayer, spiritual growth, and demonstration of truth destroy evil. They bring more purity, harmony, and goodness to our own thought and to the atmosphere of human thought more broadly, because more of Christ, Truth, is then shining in thought. Every demonstration equips us to help humanity more expansively by tackling prayerfully the larger issues of aggression, war, terrorism, crime, deprivation, and so on. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Finally, brethren, let us continue to denounce evil as the illusive claim that God is not supreme, and continue to fight it until it disappears, – but not as one that beateth the mist, but lifteth his head above it and putteth his foot upon a lie” (Christian Science versus Pantheism, p. 6).

This is something we each can do. In following the teachings and example of Christ Jesus, we can dedicate ourselves more faithfully to accepting, affirming, understanding, and proving the onliness of good. In this way, we move forward spiritually and are equipped by God to be of greater help to mankind.

Adapted from an editorial published in the Feb. 23, 2015, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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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.”

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