Helpful ‘policing’ we can all do

Spiritually “policing” our thinking – striving to let God, good, animate us, rather than giving in to anger or fear – opens the door to inspiration that improves our lives and benefits those around us.

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Keeping our communities safe for all is such an important goal, and policing is a key part of that. But reading a recent article about some of the political arguments surrounding the issue got me thinking about a “policing” role each of us can play: nurturing a spiritual sense of policing that comes from within, enabling us to control our own thoughts and actions for the benefit of all.

I’m not talking about everybody taking on a law enforcement role. Rather, I’m talking about monitoring our thoughts, being proactive in determining what kinds of impulses we nurture and ultimately act upon.

We all have an innate ability to “police” each thought that comes to us in ways that improve our character as well as circumstances. I’ve found the most effective way to do this is to consider whether our thoughts are being influenced by the divine Mind that Christ Jesus expressed, or the carnal, mortal mind that is its counterfeit. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace,” the Bible explains (Romans 8:6).

Soul, another name for God, is where our spiritual sense comes from. This sense transcends the limited physical senses. It enables us to see that we are at one with God, divine Love, and to feel calm, safe, loved, valued, and assured of God’s goodness and care.

Everyone is capable of feeling this love and recognizing that our real spiritual nature as children of God is whole, complete, and naturally attracted to good, because God, who is infinitely good, is our creator. As we recognize this, our thoughts are naturally elevated and any pull toward wrongdoing is diminished.

Now, spiritual-mindedness is natural to each of us, but it can sometimes seem hidden. Frustration, anger, lack, hatred, revenge, or resentment would try to cover up the light of our true spiritual selfhood. But when we have the humility to allow ourselves to be influenced more and more by the Christ – the message of love that God is communicating to us all the time – we better discern the intelligent, peaceful, fulfilling, and inspired ideas that remove limitations and barriers from our experience.

Jesus fully demonstrated the healing power of silencing the carnal mind and responding more and more to the Divine, the one true Mind of all of us. He looked beyond the material picture to discern the spiritual reality that was right there all along. Where there appeared to be lack, he saw God’s presence and abundance. Where sin appeared to be in the driver’s seat, he saw God’s whole, complete, and good sons and daughters. Where there appeared to be inharmony in the body, he saw health and wholeness as the true status of the children of God. And this brought about needed healing and solutions.

Each of us can strive to follow Jesus’ example, and as we do we will experience more of what it means to be governed by God and to bring good into each other’s experiences. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this news organization, writes in her seminal work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience” (p. 106). In another part of the book she adds, “Reflecting God’s government, man is self-governed” (p. 125).

In my own experience, diving into study and prayer about the nature of God and my relation to Him freed me from rebelliousness, willfulness, and several addictions. I began to see that these tendencies were elements of the carnal mind, not the divine Mind, and therefore are not actually natural to us. As I awakened to the spiritual light and truth of our native being, a greater sense of peace and dominion over these unhealthy traits and habits came over me. I sought out better relationships. I looked more toward God for my sense of satisfaction.

As a result, my life was transformed, and those I interacted with benefited from this, too.

The Apostle Paul writes, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). As we individually let our thoughts and actions be governed by God, we find a deeper peace, purpose, and fulfillment that blesses us and the community around us.

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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.