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Challenging indifference: Caring for humanity

From the January 2019 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Some months ago while reading The Christian Science Monitor Daily, I asked myself why I just briefly perused some articles and thoroughly read others. Realizing that some were apparently not as meaningful to me, I then wondered if that meant I was being indifferent to subjects that needed dedicated prayer and was “picking and choosing” what to pray about. 

Christian Science, having as its foundation the inspired Word of the Bible, teaches that any question we have can be answered through a continually growing spiritual understanding of God. It’s not merely a human effort of once in a while reading about or thinking good thoughts. It is listening to and mentally staying with the spiritual intuition that helps us know God, divine Spirit, as our—and everyone’s—actual, only Life. 

God gives each of us the ability to perceive that our true relation to Him, who is infinite Love, is one of inseparability. Divine, holy Love is the one source from which all true creation is derived. There is nothing unimportant in this creation. As the complete spiritual expression of that Love, we are valued and capable of valuing others. Reasoning from this standpoint, we realize that there is no indifference in Love’s care and in our inherent caring nature as God’s reflection. 

The book of Mark in the Bible records a time when Christ Jesus came into a synagogue and encountered an insane man, who cried out: “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God” (see 1:23–27). In this case, indifference to the Christ was taking the form of insanity, as the man didn’t want to be approached by Christ Jesus, who presented the right idea of man—the generic name for the true identity of every man and woman—as spiritually created by God. Jesus’ immediate response was, “Hold thy peace, and come out of him.” And the man was healed. Jesus understood that the man’s disturbed mental state was no part of his real nature as a child of God. And Jesus was not indifferent to the man, as his healing of him showed.

Jesus’ example was instructive, and I began to apply it to reading the Monitor. I realized that there is evidence of the Christ in every Monitor article. Although it’s not stated directly, we can discern this corrective, healing presence and force; and it enables us, through prayer and sometimes other action as well, to help improve the situations discussed in the article. For me to skim over an article would almost be like giving in to the suggestion, “What have I to do with thee?” In other words: “Why bother praying about this? It’s too far away, too complicated, too long-standing, or too hopeless. Leave me alone and let events take their course.”

There are no boundaries or limits to what God, infinite good, can do.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: “All that error asks is to be let alone; even as in Jesus’ time the unclean spirits cried out, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with thee?’ ” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 211). Indifference comes from the suggestion that something can’t be healed or that one doesn’t care if it is healed. But at its root, this kind of response doesn’t come from a person. It is a fraudulent belief proceeding from what Christian Science terms mortal mind, which would, if we consent to it, mesmerize us into blandly or unthinkingly denying that prayer is important in our life.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy explains how to stand up to this suggestion: “Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way” (p. 326). As we more deeply value Christian Science and sincerely love humanity, our motive becomes one of wanting to see others experience God-impelled Christian healing. The Father’s way does not include indifference to expressing Love. 

To pray this way doesn’t mean imposing Christian Science theology on another. It is simply knowing that God, who is all-inclusive and powerful Love and Truth, can have an elevating and healing influence in any situation, anywhere. There are no boundaries or limits to what God, as infinite good, can do.

Yet even when we know the importance and effectiveness of prayer, indifference may attempt to show itself by the suggestion, “I just don’t feel like praying right now.” In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus found some of his disciples sleeping after he had asked them to keep prayerful watch with him. He asked, “Could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40). I think of this as a reminder to ask ourselves, “Has indifference and apathy caused me to resist doing what is right?” Often when an error is confronted with the truth that would destroy it, it tries to put us to sleep to the necessity of standing on guard for Truth. Jesus knew his unbreakable relation to God, and this enabled him not to be caught off guard. His example shows us the way to stand up to evil and its seeming “let me alone” attitude.

It can seem that disease and sin are unavoidable or simply a normal part of life. But Christ Jesus challenged the material picture around him, and traditional religious teachings about it. He understood and taught the necessity of being reborn and viewing life from a purely spiritual perspective. 

Based on Jesus’ ministry, Christian Science also challenges traditional material systems of thought. In its Preface, Science and Health awakens the reader, stating, “The time for thinkers has come” (p. vii). Christian Science presents clear spiritual truths that bring God and His perfect, spiritual creation to the center of human consciousness. It empowers us and gives us impetus to reason from a fresh basis. 

The nature of indifference is to resist the Truth, which denies its reality. Christ Jesus showed us how to face such a mental state, demonstrating God’s all-power and its reliable healing effect in our lives. No matter what the form of evil may be, the Christ, Truth, will not let it alone until it is destroyed.

Becoming aware of and prayerfully meeting the challenge of indifference has brought a fresh perspective to my reading of the Monitor. I am learning not to leave a subject alone until I have dealt with it prayerfully. This has brought a wonderful sense of engagement with the world. And accompanying this global outlook is a growing sense of not being indifferent to the everyday events in my life. The length of the prayer may vary, but I’m seeing more and more how heartfelt, Truth-impelled prayers have healing effects.

More in this issue / January 2019


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