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See Evil as Impersonal

From the August 1969 issue of The Christian Science Journal

A vital point in demonstrating Christian Science is always to separate error from the individual. Evil traits, wrong thinking, sickness, and discord are never man. They are false claims about man. Seeing this clearly is fundamental to scientific mental treatment.

So long as we identify wrong thinking or discord with an individual, it is very difficult to destroy these errors metaphysically. If we claim them as our own, we thereby lose sight of our spiritual capacity to get rid of them. If we identify them with another, then it may appear that we have no control over them, even though they may seem to influence our affairs adversely. In either case we are entertaining a wrong concept of man.

But if we see evil suggestions as impersonal lies about man, it is obvious that we can nullify them from the standpoint of Truth—right at the threshold of our own consciousness. Thus we take a decisive step to free ourselves and others. Mrs. Eddy tells us in Miscellaneous Writings, "To impersonalize scientifically the material sense of existence—rather than cling to personality—is the lesson of to-day." Mis., p. 310

Evil suggestions seek a witness to give them identity and power. Only by such identification can they gain a foothold in consciousness and appear to be real and active. If we watch our thinking carefully we may discover that we are accepting as peculiarly our own various subtle suggestions that would limit, depreciate, weaken, age, or condemn us. We need to be spiritually awake; then we will not lend ourselves to mortal mind's negative, destructive thought-patterns.

How often it is that evil suggestions would appropriate the word "I" and come to us as the impulses of our own thinking! Be careful what thoughts you allow to use the word "I" as their identification! Evil is a deceiver, an impostor, always claiming to be something or somebody it isn't. Christ Jesus said that the one evil is a liar and "there is no truth in him." John 8:44 Too often we forge our own chains and build our own prisons by the false, limiting conclusions we accept as our own thoughts about ourselves.

What is needed is scientific identification of ourselves as man, the reflection of God. Thus we can free ourselves from the bondage of malpractice, or evil mental influence, whether it comes from our own thoughts or from the thoughts of others.

Christ Jesus identified man correctly. Mrs. Eddy explains clearly the healing method Jesus used, and it applies with equal effectiveness in praying for ourselves and praying for others. She writes in Science and Health: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy."Science and Health, pp. 476, 477

Science holds before us the shining truth of man's perfection and limitless possibilities as God's individualized idea. This wonderful revelation of the nature of man gives a totally new view of ourselves and others. It enables us to destroy the devilish suggestions of malpractice and to rise above the pettiness of personal sense, or the sense of man as material person.

In Science it is equally important to outgrow a finite personal sense of good, the belief that good originates in person. Material personality is erroneous, whether it appears to be evil or good. Jesus quickly rejected a personal sense of things even when it credited him with good. When a man addressed him as "good Master," he responded, "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God."Matt. 19:16, 17 Christ Jesus exercised the mightiest spiritual power the world has ever known. Yet he said humbly, "I can of mine own self do nothing."John 5:30 He gave God the glory: "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."14:10

In line with this attitude, we find that in Christian Science a human personality is not the healer. It is strengthening to both practitioner and patient to know that divine Truth, Love, is the only healer. Truth, understood, acting through its eternal laws, destroys human discord. The role of the Christian Science practitioner is to be a transparency for Truth. He becomes a transparency for Truth by purifying his consciousness, by understanding Truth, and by expressing the spirit of the healing Christ!

So it is highly important, if we would heal the sick and prove man's God-given dominion in other ways, that we rise above a personal sense of either good or evil. Christian Science stresses the fact that it is seeing ourselves as a material personality that limits us.

There are, however, false concepts of impersonalizing that need to be guarded against. Science does not foster the cold, faceless impersonality of attitude sometimes evident in highly organized modern society; rather it reveals God as superabundant Love and intelligence who knows, values, appreciates, and tenderly loves each and all of His ideas.

Nor, in Science, do we reduce man to a mere vacuum or cipher. False humility or self-depreciation is not the true spirit of Christ. In Science we exchange the limited, selfish, material sense of personality for the true sense of man's mighty individuality as God's pure reflection. We recognize man's grandeur, goodness, and glory as God's individual likeness. As Mrs. Eddy writes, "The understanding of his spiritual individuality makes man more real, more formidable in truth, and enables him to conquer sin, disease, and death." Science and Health, p. 317.

Not only does the scientific method of impersonalizing evil emancipate us from wrong concepts of ourselves. It simultaneously enables us to revolutionize our view of others and hence our human relationships. It opens the way to proving our dominion over the discords and impediments that may seek to assert themselves in one's relations with others.

If we think of others as disagreeable human personalities, we suffer from our own false concept. If we attach malice or hate, selfishness or dishonesty, lack of consideration or cruelty to another individual, we are granting such evils identity. We are believing that they are real and have a witness. Then the temptation is to fear such ills because they seem beyond our control. Under such circumstances it is hard indeed to love one's neighbor.

The scientific solution is to stop looking at our neighbor through the lens of personal sense and start seeing the spiritual truth of man. Whatever may be the ugly frailties attached to an individual by personal sense, these are not man but a false claim about the man of God's creating. By seeing this we impersonalize the frailties or errors. Then we can deny their validity and resolve them into nothingness, because they have no place in the infinite Mind, the Mind which includes all and which man reflects.

The world believes in many personal minds. It views these so-called minds, or personalities, as the epitome of personal sense—as constituted of human opinions, selfishness, sensitiveness, heredity, hates and loves and desires, animosities, prejudices, and self-interests—the whole catalog of material personality traits. Put a number of such personalities together in the arena of home, school, church, business, or country, and what do we have? Division, disunity, disagreement, tension, pressures, conflict, hostility, fear, frustration, disease. A sorry array! All stemming from accepting into consciousness the fundamental error of many minds—the concept of earthly personalities both good and evil and separate from God!

What are the spiritual facts? Man is not a material personality exhibiting negative mortal traits, but the pure image of all-governing deific Mind. He is not the epitome of personal sense but the compound idea of Spirit, Soul, without a single element or trait, impulse or characteristic, unlike supreme Love. He is the conscious witness, in every instance, of the infinite Principle, God. Wherever man is, there is no division but rather oneness, no disunity but instead there is unity, no disagreement but only cooperation, no tension but right relationships, no pressure but rather unfoldment, no conflict but harmony, no hostility but rather love, no frustration but fulfillment, no disease but life and health and peace.

When we look deeper than outward appearances and see the real man God made, right where a sinning mortal personality seems to be, then we can love this man. This may place a demand upon us for a radical renovation of our concepts of our family and friends, our employer or business associates. But such a spiritual awakening floods consciousness with pure inspiration. Science shows us how to attain this understanding and realize its possibilities.

Working and praying to see man instead of a material personality, we learn to separate from our concept of ourselves and others the ugly suggestions of malice and fear that would chill the heart. We learn to deal with them as impersonal errors—evil claims about man that have no origin, no reality or place, and no activity in God's omnipresence. We learn to handle them as animal magnetism, the fictitious claim that there can be an active evil mind or intelligence apart from God; we affirm the fact that omniscient Mind is God, infinite good, and that in His omnipresence no evil design or device can prosper, have power, or gain a witness. Man reflects this Mind. The consciousness of man's at-one-ment with Mind as Mind's idea, with deific Principle as the witness of this Principle, with Spirit as the image and likeness of the One altogether lovely, gives one complete defense against the shafts of error.

This understanding shows that evil thoughts and aims of any sort—whatever their nature and seeming identity—have no motive power nor action, no origin, no identity, no means of transference, and no effect—because they are utterly forbidden by the law of God. One finds in this understanding the basis for demonstrating his absolute immunity from the most aggressive and malicious lies of evil. The more clearly one sees the oneness and allness of infinite Mind, and the nearer he draws in consciousness to this one Mind or Principle, the more naturally he will recognize the impersonal nature of evil's claims and their powerlessness. This brings increased unity and harmony into his human relationships.

If there seems to be discord or malice or tension in your relations with others, ask yourself if you are really impersonalizing error. If you do this faithfully, and then deny the error from the standpoint of Science, you will avail yourself scientifically of the invincible law of God. The clouds will clear away. Instead of hostility or turmoil you will see refreshing evidence in your affairs of the fact that, actually, scientific being means the perpetual unfoldment of Love.

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