Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

That Risky First Commandment

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

That Risky First Commandment

Article excerpt

To look at the world these days is to see many opportunities that also seem filled with risk. These include establishing peace in the Middle East, finding stability among global financial markets, and eliminating terrorism. These goals often seem almost impossible to achieve. Yet, there is reason for hope.

To help the world reach a better place - and to defeat evil's devious ways - we can find guidance in a communion address Mary Baker Eddy gave in 1896. At one point she said, starkly: "Evil was, and is, the illusion of breaking the First Commandment, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me:' it is either idolizing something and somebody, or hating them: it is the spirit of idolatry, envy, jealousy, covetousness, superstition, lust, hypocrisy, witchcraft" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 123).

Evil, in the form of the carnal mind, encourages fear and hatred by arguing that we are helpless victims - of vile and selfish rulers, irresponsible businesses, all-powerful marketers, manipulative global speculators of the ignorant, envious, and superstitious. Evil suggests that our only hope is to cover our heads and wait passively for our salvation or our doom. That any effort to break its grip on our thoughts or lives is much too risky.

This misleading message is sometimes reinforced by reports or political jockeying that tends to encourage a sense of crisis, rather than promote reasoned thinking on how we can achieve peace, stabilize societies, and help meet people's needs. These and other situations cry out for healing. And when we see them as opportunities to heal rather than as merely administrative or legal problems to solve, there will be deeper healing and more inspired solutions.

Jesus' life and ministry provide powerful examples of this deeper healing. When the scribes and Pharisees presented him with a woman caught breaking the Jewish law by committing adultery, he knew the severe penalty she faced - death by stoning. …

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