So many people face the danger of violence in the community, at school, or even in their homes. In the search for reliable solutions, we shouldn't rule out spiritual self-defense as the ultimate answer.
The idea of trusting God for personal safety isn't actually new. There are a number of examples found in the Bible that mean something for you and me.
For instance, one day Jesus was talking with a group of people. He was explaining his understanding of God, and they became quite angry about the claims he was making. In fact, they started picking up rocks to throw at him. But, the Bible says, "Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by" (John 8:59).
What happened? What did he do? Instead of, say, trying to hide himself in some secret corner of the temple, he hid himself in what the 91st Psalm calls "the secret place of the most High." The whole of that first verse reads "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
This shelter isn't so much a physical location as it is a state of mind. You might say it's the "most High" state of Mind - the spiritual consciousness of who God, the divine Mind, is. Jesus hid himself, so to speak, in his understanding of the true nature of God and of his relationship to God.
We know from the Bible that Jesus understood God to be Spirit, the all-powerful, loving creator of all. And he referred to the identity of all men and women as spiritual and perfect, and as the expression of divine Love. With this spiritual understanding that God was the only power over him, and that God's children express God's love toward one another, Jesus found physical safety. Now, maybe you're inclined to think, "Yes, but that was Jesus; what about the rest of us?"
Well, a close friend of mine was able to defend himself in much this same way. One night when he came home to his apartment building, he saw three men across the street. They were viciously beating and kicking another man as he lay on the ground. Right away, my friend could see that this assault was so violent that the man's life was in danger.
My friend felt he had to intervene, even though it was a dangerous situation. As he crossed the street, he turned with all his heart to his understanding of how God's children express Him. He prayed. He did this by affirming to himself that right there, divine Love was in control - despite the fact that it looked just the opposite. And he knew that it is our God-given nature to be loving; that we are all one family, God's family, made to live in peace.
By "hiding" himself in this "most High" consciousness - in these spiritual truths - he actually felt at peace. Safe.
The attackers turned toward him.
"You don't really want to be doing this. This just isn't right. You know this isn't right," he said.
Then he found himself calmly pulling one of the men away and setting him on the hood of a car. Unbelievable? Well, he told me that the man didn't resist him at all. And then the other two men simply stopped the beating also.
The victim fully recovered, without even any hatred or bitterness.
If you find yourself in a situation that you feel could harm you physically, morally, or emotionally - whether at home or school or work or in your community - you can defend yourself spiritually.
Ultimately, what we're defending against isn't people. It's the belief that there could be a power apart from God, apart from good, and that anyone could be something other than the image of divine Love. What we're actually defending is our right to be conscious of God and His good creation.
"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," a book by Mary Baker Eddy, points out the mental, spiritual tools God gives us to defend ourselves. It says, "The history of Christianity furnishes sublime proofs of the supporting influence and protecting power bestowed on man by his heavenly Father, omnipotent Mind, who gives man faith and understanding whereby to defend himself, not only from temptation, but from bodily suffering" (pg. 387).
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society