Millions of people the world over prayed and are still praying for the complete recovery of President Reagan and the others who were wounded in the assassination attempt last week. Surely these unselfish prayers have helped the wounded and brought a measure of calm in the wake of a shocking event.
Some may feel such acts of extremism are hardly explainable, let alone preventable. But it is comforting to know that the rootsm of crime can be exposed and negated as mentalm error. The prayerful method of checking crime is a positive contribution to society.
Mary Baker Eddy n1 provides an example of this work. President Garfield was assassinated in 1881 when Mrs. Eddy was busy founding Christian Science. She writes: "i visited in his cell the assassin of President Garfield, and found him in the mental state called moral idiocy. He had no sense of his crime; but regarded his act as one of simple justice, and himself as the victim. My few words touched him; he sank back in his chair, limp and pale; his flippancy had fled."
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science
Of "moral idiocy" she writes later: "This mental disease at first shows itself in extreme sensitiveness; then, in a loss of self-knowledge and of self-condemnation, --faults, but an exaggerating sense of other people's. Unless this mental condition be overcome, it ends in a total loss of moral, intellectual, and spiritual discernment, and is characterized in this Scripture: "the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.' This state of mind is the exemplification of total depravity, and the result of sensuous mind in matter." n2
n2 Miscellaneous Writings,m p. 112
Crime is an arrogant form of sin, the belief that the government of God, divine Love, can be nullified. Deeply Christian prayer attacks this erring belief with the knowledge that right here on earth moral and spiritual laws can be proved supreme. All crime demands consistent and sound denunciation as a lie about man, an imposition on the truth that man's character is Godlike and pure.
Violent extremes of any kind flow from the assumption that man's consciousness is material. The tendency toward decency and respect for law that does exist in so much individual thought flows from God, man's true Parent. Spiritual insight into man's nature as God's expression --man's purity, integrity, intelligence -- and the adoption of these qualities in our lives, show alienation and violence to be counterfeits of man's real being.
Criminal tendencies would cover themselves, even after bursting forth in destructive ways. But prayer can expose the criminal motive to the light of truth. As a reporter , the author once interviewed a man serving time in prison for snatching a woman's purse and breaking her jaw. He still denied the crime. Using as the basis of his prayer the knowledge that evil is contrary to God's will, that good is the only true result of divine action, the author was able to trace and interview the victim. He confronted the prisoner with this evidence, and the man for the first time admitted what he had done. Even more important, he expressed genuine regret. ANd he wanted to communicate this to the victim.
Prayer that sees through the claimed power of sin and crime leads to practical, cleansing results. It can help anyone --from a child to a seemingly hardened adult -- attain freedom from fear, greed, hate. Prayer can help a person drop his false sense of reality in exchange for a clearer sense that the divine Mind is in reality the only Mind. "Hide thy face from my sins," said the Psalmist, "and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." n3
n3 Psalms 51:9, 10.
When Christ Jesus rose from the grave, he proved that crime and its effects are destroyed by an understanding faith in and absolute obedience to God. Jesus' ability to see beyond crime to God's everpresence has given us a way to understand the kingdom of eternal Life. In truth, man knows and exhibits only divine goodness. This spiritual fact is a foundational truth enabling us to combat criminal states of though more effectively. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Psalms 37:9