Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Freedom to Be Yourself for Young People-Written for the Christian Science Monitor

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Freedom to Be Yourself for Young People-Written for the Christian Science Monitor

Article excerpt

You know the expression, "when pigs fly"? Well, I guess they can in a way. Not long ago a teenage girl sat next to me on a plane. Her 180-pound potbellied pig was in a crate in the cargo hold. During the two-hour flight, I learned about the dedication and time involved in training and showing a championship pig in competition.

I also found out this girl felt troubled and was looking for answers. More and more of her friends were starting to drink alcohol. She didn't want to drink, but was worried that if she didn't she'd lose her friends. She asked me what she could say to her friends. I thought carefully about how I could help.

I said she could tell them she didn't want to give up her freedom-her ability to think clearly. Drugs and booze would only rob her of that freedom. Immediately her face lighted up. She looked relieved and said, "That's the answer!" She felt it was an explanation her friends could understand. Although I never mentioned God or religion in our conversation, I realized I had been sharing a fundamental fact I had learned in studying Christian Science: wanting to do what you feel is right leads to knowing God better. Let's examine the motives of this young woman. Her decision not to drink just because her friends were drinking was good. Her love of her friendships was good. Her wish not to lose her friends was natural. Her wish to feel free reminded me of a promise in the Bible, from the book of Philippians: "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. . . . and the God of peace shall be with you" (4:8, 9). Christ Jesus taught how God brings us good. In the book of Luke is his account of a young man who asked to get his inheritance from his father early (see chapter 15, verses 11-24). He left home and wasted his money living wildly. Without money, food, or a home (he was minding a swineherd), he sank so low he actually wasn't even eating as well as the swine. …

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