Nothing can mask our spiritual goodness

In these days of face masks and what may seem like the masking of good in others, here are some ideas on how we can keep seeing our neighbor from a spiritual standpoint.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Everywhere we go there are people wearing masks, and our once-familiar world appears quite upside down! But masks cannot change the nature and character of any one of us, any more than Halloween masks hide the innocence of the children ringing doorbells looking for treats. Seeing their little smiles trying to hide behind an array of brightly stitched costumes doesn’t fool us, when we know beneath each mask is a child whose joy and innocence are still intact.

Masks can appear in deeper forms; they are not only physical. During a birthday party for our grandson many years ago, my then daughter-in-law became upset when she learned one of the invited children was bringing a cousin who she remembered as rude and selfish. She was convinced this little girl would ruin the party.

Instead of agreeing with her, I asked that she might give this little girl a chance and expect good behavior. Then, I began to pray and affirm that all God’s children are naturally generous, obedient, and kind, because they reflect God’s nature. Understanding this was how I began to strip off – unmask – the disguise of an unruly child.

I’ve learned through Christian Science that the nature and character of each one of us is the expression of divinity. We are spiritual, not material, complete, not fragmented. If we want to see this perfection in others, we must start by affirming what is spiritually true about them as the expressions of God, Spirit. Otherwise, we are mistaking an imperfect appearance for the reality.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor and author of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” included a chapter in her book that indicates a spiritual way of understanding certain words as they appear in the Bible. The chapter defines “children,” in part, as “the spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love” (p. 582). This truth applies to each one of us. It does not matter what one’s background or history is. What does matter is the fact that we are each made in the image and likeness of God, divine Love. Ever-present Love alone defines us and expresses in us qualities such as wisdom, goodness, spirituality, and grace.

Well, thinking along these lines made all the difference, and, as I expected, the party went on without any problems. In fact, it was noted at the end how lovely this little girl had been. She was generous and kind. It was a complete turnaround from what this mother had feared.

Science and Health states, “It is ignorance and false belief, based on a material sense of things, which hide spiritual beauty and goodness” (p. 304). As we drop a false material sense and gain a spiritual sense of our and others’ true individuality, we begin to understand the laws of Love that govern everyone. This spiritual sense assures us that, in reality, spiritual beauty and goodness cannot be hidden by any mask, physical or mental. The Bible tells us we can never be separated from God, the very source of love itself!

No matter what the guidelines are as our communities reopen, and despite what is paraded in front of us, nothing can keep us from demonstrating the power and presence of divine Love in our daily lives. While working toward the goal of getting back into a normal routine, and enjoying the company of friends and strangers alike, it might be helpful to remove the masks mentally first – to see beyond any false claim about our neighbor that may present itself to our thought. Instead, let’s see the children of God as God sees them – uncontaminated, unafraid, confident, and joyful. We will find this acknowledgment goes a long way, just as it did with that little girl all those years ago.

Editor’s note: As a public service, all the Monitor’s coronavirus coverage is free, including articles from this column. There’s also a special free section of JSH-Online.com on a healing response to the global pandemic. There is no paywall for any of this coverage.

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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.