Exercising our right to think spiritually

Nothing can take away our God-given right to health, peace of mind, and freedom from fear.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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“I fear the loss of my rights!” A friend was lamenting a plethora of rules, policies, and laws considered or enacted to try to manage the spread of the coronavirus.

Most people are willing to go along with efforts to promote health and safety for everyone. But at the same time, some perceive threats to freedom of movement, self-government of the body, and individual health-care choices far into the future.

In my own prayers to both support public welfare and retain sovereignty over my life and body, I find guidance in remembering that we have inviolable spiritual rights under God. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains, “God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 106). Self-government, reason, and conscience are God-derived, and therefore forever ours to exercise and enjoy.

Christ Jesus’ life was the supreme example of these bestowals in action. Faced with the tyranny of disease, for instance, he did not accept suffering as inevitable or seek ways to accommodate it. He cured sickness by asserting man’s right to health under God’s care. Faced with injustice, he found his safety in trusting God, who is good and Love, and at the same time, exercised his sacred right to forgive rather than resent, bless instead of condemn, and return love for hate. Refusing to let the world’s abuse and oppression darken his thought, he mastered evil with the power of God, infinite Truth and Love.

When faced with devious and cruel designs to kill him – through political maneuvering, theological scheming, and a rigged trial – Jesus was crucified, but he wasn’t defeated. He perceived the real enemy to liberty and justice to be a mortal mentality, later identified in the Bible as the carnal mind (see Romans 8:6, 7). This mortal sense manifests itself as hatred, prejudice, selfishness, greed, lust for power, and fear. Applying the might of God – and asserting his privilege to reason, live, and love under God’s dominion – he dissolved its malicious intent and walked out of the tomb alive.

Today we’re given opportunities to exercise our own divine rights under God’s law, especially as mass anxiety about contagion makes helplessness, depression, and fear of the future seem normal. But evil in any form, including fear and illness, is not the force it appears to be, as it is never backed by spiritual reality. Jesus said about the devil (another name for the carnal mind) that “there is no truth in him,” and added, “When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44, New Living Translation).

Though it can be tempting to feel overwhelmed or despairing when confronted with oppressive influences on thought and actions, in reality there is one God, one power, over all. Science and Health explains: “The God-principle is omnipresent and omnipotent. God is everywhere, and nothing apart from Him is present or has power” (p. 473). God maintains His creation in an eternal state of health, liberty, and equity. In God’s realm there is no destructive mind or dark purpose to dominate us.

Jesus counseled that we should be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Serpents represent any type of material reasoning that denies God’s supremacy. For example, mortal suggestion treats viruses as legitimate aspects of existence. If not resisted spiritually, this material reasoning can leave its adherents feeling helpless, hopeless, sick, and fearful.

But God has endowed everyone with incontrovertible spiritual rights to live healthy, strong, and free. God’s provision of self-government, reason, and conscience – as well as every other right bestowed on us by God, good – gives each of us the ability to stay calm amid turmoil, poised in the presence of aggression, healthy in the face of disease, and discerning when encountering ignorance or malice.

If we feel assaulted by material viewpoints, we can retain poise and dominion by impersonalizing what we hear and see, and understanding that the primary challenge is never a person, institution, or corporate body, but the belief that a force opposite to God exists to work evil through material means and conditions. When one is conscious of God’s all-power, such claims are countered. Step by step, threats disappear, fear dissolves, indignation evaporates, health is preserved, and peace of mind prevails.

As children of God, we each have the divinely bestowed right to think and reason spiritually. Facing perceived challenges to liberty, health, or peace of mind, we can listen for God’s direction, reason with spiritual truths, and act with a Love-inspired conscience in ways that bring healing. We can exercise our native right to see God in control, and trust that immortal Truth and Love always have the final say – and truly, the only one.

Adapted from an article published on sentinel.christianscience.com, July 29, 2021.

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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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