Violence in the home. More frequent than society ever imagined, according to statistics. So rampant that society feels it can no longer sit on the sidelines and call it a ''private matter'' when wives are beaten and children abused. The President of the United States has now appointed a commission to investigate the problem of family violence.
Apart from steps the government undertakes, is there some contribution that we as individuals can make toward solving this problem?
There surely is. In life, the thought is ever father to the act. This is true collectively every bit as much as individually. Violence seems to be a contagious mental force in human nature. But there is a basic divine goodness native to man that can counteract such contagion. Acknowledging the one Almighty God, Spirit, as our creator, we come to see that our real being is spiritual; that man reflects God's own goodness in essence and impulse. It follows, then, that we can each find within our nature a God-given freedom from violent impulses, thoughts, and reactions, and a God-given spirit of universal love and good will.
Exercising universal love and forgiveness in our prayers for society has a vigorous influence on the thoughts of mankind. This is because in our prayers we are expressing, to our highest understanding, the qualities that are the specific antipodes of violent emotions.
We may be inclined to think of tenderness, patient understanding, and gentleness as passive little feelings. However, they actually partake of the purest, most powerful qualities of all - the spiritual elements of God, divine Love itself.
The Bible says of God, ''Thy gentleness hath made me great.'' n1 And the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ''No power can withstand divine Love.'' n2
n1 II Samuel 22:36.
n2 Science and Health with key to the Scriptures p. 224.
No violent impulses thrashing about in universal thought can withstand the supreme, benign power of divine Love; no contagion of angry reactions can escape being checkmated by the intelligence and wisdom of Love. But we must express these qualities in our prayers and in our lives if we are to help counteract the phenomena of violent thinking.
Christ Jesus reflected this power of divine Love in every circumstance that confronted him. He understood the omnipotence of God's love, and this spiritual understanding gave him mastery over the turbulent elements of mortal thought, over every phase of evil. On one occasion he silenced a storm at sea with the authoritative command ''Peace, be still.'' n3
n3 Mark 4:39
This understanding and love was a tangible influence in the thoughts of the people who came to him for healing. He proved that no power could withstand the active expression of divine Love.
In speaking of another serious problem that besets the safety and harmony of home and marriage - adultery - Jesus made it very clear that the mental entertaining of lustful desire was the substance of adultery. He said, ''I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.'' n4
n4 Matthew 5:28
Certainly the same can be said of violent impulses and emotions. To look on our fellowman with violent feelings is, in the final analysis, as injurious as violent actions. Thoughts are forces. The spiritual thought-forces of genuine compassion, gentleness, and patience restrain violent tendencies in stormy public thought.
So, whether at home, in the workplace, while watching the news, or while driving in trying traffic, our forbearance to react and our positive expression of patience and faith in God's goodness are powerful, forceful influences in the thoughts of all of us.
Government action begins with our own self-government, with our reflecting of God's control. The family and families of mankind need our loving prayers and living love in both thought and deed. So, beyond whatever needed steps the law undertakes to protect families from the horror of violent acts, we can help to neutralize this evil with our honest, spiritually based love for God, for one another, and for all mankind. DAILY BIBLE VERSE See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. I Peter 1:22