The presence of God’s goodness alone

Recognizing that God never causes or authorizes evil opens the way for God’s healing, reforming goodness to be felt and expressed more tangibly.

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At the end of many films, resolution is defined by when “the bad guy” is subdued. This is because evil is often portrayed as a human individual. While it is always vital to identify and overcome evil and destructive behaviors, only in the movies does evil disappear by eliminating a person. In real life, that doesn’t eradicate the underlying evils that torment our world.

Christian Science teaches that to effectively address evil, a first step is to stop giving a human face to it. The Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, explains in her “Message to The Mother Church for 1901,” “Evil is neither quality nor quantity: it is not intelligence, a person or a principle, a man or a woman, a place or a thing, and God never made it” (pp. 12-13).

Only what God creates, in the ultimate scheme of things, has validity and presence. Everything created by God, who is Spirit and utterly good, is wholly good and spiritual. Evil, rather than being a legitimate acting power, doesn’t have any divine backing at all.

This opens up a whole new approach to achieving peace. As we admit the spiritual fact that God is the only legitimate presence, we begin to stop regarding evil as sourced in a human being. We then can start disarming it through inspired prayer.

What a blessing it is to know that, continuously, we all on this globe are within God’s all-presence. Knowing this isn’t to ignore evil or to refuse to hold perpetrators accountable; it is to realize that, given God’s all-present goodness, evil isn’t as powerful or inevitable as it may seem.

In the biblical account of David and Goliath, Goliath – a physically huge, intimidating fighter – said to the people of Israel, “Give me a man, that we may fight together” (I Samuel 17:10). A young shepherd, David, volunteered. With only a slingshot and stone, David prevailed. If David had considered Goliath an insurmountable evil being, David wouldn’t have won the day.

There’s a lesson here for our present times. How are we looking at the Goliaths of our world? Is God, good, all-present – except in the area where some modern-day Goliath is behaving with irrationality, hatred, and domination? No! Evil owns no position within God’s all-presence. It is within the precinct of human consciousness that, with God’s authority, we address and eliminate belief in evil’s potency. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,” instructs the Bible (Romans 12:21).

In my early childhood, I lived with a number of different families. In one home, I was faced with the rancid ugliness of repeated evil and selfish behaviors. I was overwhelmed by the experience, which had a lasting impact on me. For some time afterward, I trusted very few adults.

During the years that followed, I was introduced to Jesus’ example. He said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good” (Luke 6:45). I began to realize that I didn’t need to let evil intimidate me. I decided to spend focused time in prayer, which enriched my thoughts with a fuller sense of God’s goodness.

This simple commitment changed my whole perspective. It empowered me to stop resenting persons and instead to acknowledge the presence of God’s goodness in everyone. Day after day, connecting deeply and actively with the treasure of God’s present goodness brought freedom from the false notion that evil could ever have a personality and unavoidable presence. I began consistently identifying myself, along with everyone else, as made to express God’s goodness and love. This freed me from that lingering mental baggage and helped me express God’s goodness more fully in my own actions.

“To impersonalize scientifically the material sense of existence – rather than cling to personality – is the lesson of to-day,” observes Mrs. Eddy (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 310). A prayerful heart overflowing with adoration of God’s goodness defined Jesus’ perspective. We can commit to making it our prayerful perspective, too.

It’s not that God gives us goodness in order to fight with “the bad guy.” No, it’s that God Himself is actually the entire context of real existence, and we each are created as the spiritual expression of God’s flawless nature. Even when evil seems entrenched, seeing just a glimpse of this spiritual reality opens the way for God’s transforming, healing power to become more evident.

For a regularly updated collection of insights relating to the war in Ukraine from the Christian Science Perspective column, click here.

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