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Dealing with the fear of crime

Recently, while I was away on business, a neighbor returned to her home to find that it had been robbed. She reported the incident to the authorities and asked my wife to give her some moral support.

After everything settled down and my wife returned home, she was overcome by a sense of aloneness and fear. The picture of disorder she had witnessed seemed so vivid that she could think of nothing else.

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Would she be the next victim?

Were her beautiful home and ''desirable neighborhood'' really that safe?

In this fearful state she decided to call a friend who was a dedicated Christian. As she related what had happened, the friend told her of once being in a similar situation and finding some insights of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, very helpful. She pointed, for example, to this statement: ''There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness.'' n1

n1 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210.

Can't we say that, in a very definite sense, all of us live in a state of consciousness; that our dwelling place is in our thoughts about life? It's important, then, for the protection of our mental home as well as of the material structure we call home, to be conscious of God's supremacy and to entertain His pure, good thoughts.

One of the basic teachings of the Bible is that God is infinite, unlimited good, the sole creator of the universe. Man, the Scriptures tell us, is God's likeness. So in truth, man's being includes only good, and he is constantly embraced by God's love. The consciousness of these spiritual truths shuts the door on the impositions of fear.

John writes, ''There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.'' And he adds with conviction, ''He that feareth is not made perfect in love.'' n2

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n2 I John 4:18.

It became clear to my wife that love had motivated her efforts to help our neighborheed and that love carried with it, not a penalty, but warmth and safety. With this realization came an exquisite sense of peace. My wife was able to spend several happy days alone in our house until I returned.

In discussing the incident later, we both agreed that some very important lessons had been learned. For example, crime is not something to be ignored; nor is it the exclusive concern of the need to devote more thought to meeting this blight on society.

But merely material means are not the answer. Locks and alarms (as helpful as they may seem at the times) can do relatively little to arrest underlying fears.

Long ago Job lamented, ''The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.'' n3 Living the eachings of Christianity can be a powerful antidote to fear and the misfortunate, it would attract. Christ Jesus taught that our first duty is to love God supremely, and our second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. In so doing, we are enveloped in God's love and care.

n3 Job 3:25.

From the standpoint of spiritual reality we are never helpless. We don't, then, have to give in to a helpless feeling. We can this moment make an effort to God-center our thoughts and attitides. Our protection against the onslaughts of crime in never simply a matter of where we reside physically.

Again, as Mrs. Eddy states, ''There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness.''

Knowing this, and putting it into practice, can be a powerful help in deflating the fer of crime. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. Pslams 91:9,10

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