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Kudzu Country

Taking a spiritual look at events and issues of special interest to young people.

I looked out the window of the car and saw a vine covering all the bushes, trees, and fences in sight. "Kudzu country," I said. We were in the southeastern part of the United States, where a twining, climbing vine known as kudzu was introduced in the late 1800s. It was used to feed animals and to prevent erosion. At first it was highly valued.

But then it was discovered there was almost no possible way to contain the plant. In places it has grown to cover almost anything and has become a pest to landowners. Kudzu can grow to a length of sixty feet. One of the biggest problems is that it cuts trees and other plants off from light and nourishment. It can eventually kill them.

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Lies act a little like kudzu, I thought. Sometimes it seems advantageous to tell a lie to get out of a tough spot. But all too often one little lie escalates, and you're trapped into telling bigger lies to cover the little one. On and on it goes.

Other activities trap people the way kudzu traps trees. Very often people begin smoking, drinking, and doing drugs in what they think are small ways, only to find out that before long they can't stop, and feel they need harmful substances for happiness.

There is a way out of this trouble, though. We can ask God, today, to help us stay solely under His control. This control is always satisfying and freeing. You know when you are experiencing it, because you feel that God is with you and that you're free to act in ways that are good for you and for all who know you. Thoughts and actions that are in line with God are ones that follow the Ten Commandments, found in the Bible in Exodus (20:3-17) and the Beatitudes, found in Matthew (5:3-12). God gave the Commandments to Moses and the Beatitudes to Christ Jesus; they are basic rules that keep people from getting into sticky situations in the first place. They also help them get out.

If you are feeling uncomfortable-if something evil is threatening, like a kudzu vine, to take control of your thought, and therefore your life, you can be glad in a way that you do feel ill at ease. It is because you are made in the image of God that you couldn't possibly be comfortable with something destructive, even if it is popular. The discomfort you are feeling is actually the result of your genuinely good nature. What is not good is not from God, and wanting it to be uncovered -- to be let out in the open and disposed of -- is OK.

The Apostle Paul told the Romans of Biblical times, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." He advised, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:2, 21).

Today, you are just as free to choose good. You can ask God for help to resist evil of any kind. The Bible assures us that we will receive God's help. It is never too late to let Him lead the way. How do you start? By understanding how God created you and knows you. God is good, and couldn't have made you other than good. When you know this, you can be that way. You can be what God made you to be today. Nothing has the power to keep you enslaved to a vice or a mistake.

Mary Baker Eddy found that through understanding the Bible's message we can know God better and know ourselves better. In 1875 she wrote a book that told about her discovery, which she called Christian Science. This Science is the truth of God, which shows that all power belongs to God and shows how we can regain evidence of God's control in our lives, no matter what problem is trying to overtake us. Mrs. Eddy's book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures says, "Resisting evil, you overcome it and prove its nothingness" (p. 446). The book also says in reference to overcoming hatred, lust, revenge, and deceit, "Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success" (p. 405).

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Essentially you "choke" evil by loving God with all your heart. Because He loves you unreservedly and wholeheartedly, you can't love Him in any lesser way.

You can find other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

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