No Criminal Mentality
ONE of the things that bothered me when our house was burglarized was that there seemed to be evidence of serious forethought before the event. The feeling of a criminal mentality watching our movements and plotting the crime was overwhelming.Even after the things we lost were replaced, I found myself worrying about this feeling that there could be a criminal mentality operating with an evil purpose. To regain a feeling of peace and security about my home, I turned to prayer. I found it natural to think of Christ Jesus and the Lord's Prayer, which he gave us. One of the statements in the prayer that has always meant a lot to me is at the end, where it says, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. As I thought about this statement in connection with the burglary, I realized that God's kingdom, or government, could not include a criminal mentality or malevolent power. God, being the all-knowing Mind, could create only good. There couldn't possibly be a place for evil in the presence of divine Love. In fact, since God is the only Mind and is all-good, intelligence and criminality are mutually exclusive. The Bible makes clear that true wisdom and knowledge are based solely in God. These and other Godlike qualities cannot be material and limited, because the nature of God's creation is spiritual and unlimited. This means that man in his true nature and selfhood must be spiritual and wholly governed by God's law. It follows then that whatever is evil isn't Godlike; and if it isn't from God, it can't be the power that it claims to be. Instead it partakes of materiality and mortality. This mistaken view of existence stems from the belief that life is confined to matter and that the only way we can obtain good is by getting it from others. The whole basis of this view is one of limitation. It argues that there is only so much good to go around and the only way to get more is to take it from someone else. This certainly doesn't bear any resemblance to Christ Jesus' teachings about the nature of man or of God's love for man. In fact, the Master emphasized through his life and works the abundance of God's goodness and our right to have all the good our divine Father bestows on us. This good is ours when we are willing to accept the moral and spiritual demands of a life lived in relation to God. Among these demands is obedience to the Ten Commandments (found in Exodus), to the Sermon on the Mount (found in M atthew), and other Biblical teachings. We run into trouble when we allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking we are finite, material beings whose only resources are in matter. This point became very clear to me after the house was burglarized. Through prayer I realized that I had been thinking of myself in such material terms. Instead of rejoicing in my actual spirituality and my relationship to God, I had been feeling very much a part of a mortal environment where crime had the upper hand. As I prayed to gain a clearer understanding of man's spirituality and unity with God, I felt restored peace and confidence about my safety. And in the months since the burglary, I have continued to pray about this issue because it seems to take so many different forms in the world --from the simple theft I experienced to vandalism and even terrorism. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes a statement about evil that I have found particularly helpful. She says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The great fact remains that evil is not mind. Evil has no power, no intelligence, for God is good, and therefore good is infinite, is All. Since God is the only Mind and God is good, it follows that evil cannot have any of the qualities of Mind, such as intelligence. And as we pray to know and understand this point, we can begin to feel greater freedom from the fear that we will be victims of crime. It should also become more evident that as God's offspring we are actually good and must naturally express intelligence. While evil cannot include Mind or any of its qualities, to the degree that we have allied ourselves with good, we are able to express divine intelligence. Then instead of being the helpless, unwitting victims of crime, we can through prayer claim our freedom from it. This freedom increases as we accept divine intuitions and intelligence as a natural part of our relationship to God. As we obey these intuitions we find that we are less likely to become victims of crime. For example, one day while I was away on vacation, I had specifically prayed about my unity with God and the spiritual fact that I can never be separated from the good He is giving me. Later that morning I had a sudden feeling I should return to the parking lot where I had put my car. The feeling was fa irly urgent, and I acted on it. When I got to the parking lot, all was well, but I found evidence that someone had been trying to open the door. As I looked inside the car, I realized that I had left a tape recorder out and that this could have been sufficient to tempt someone to theft. It took only a moment to move the tape recorder out of sight, and the car was undamaged by the earlier effort to break in. Human experience being what it is, each of us may be exposed to crime at some point or another. But we can do much to help ourselves and others if we are willing to realize that, in truth, there is no criminal mentality--no mind apart from God--that can victimize us. And as we listen to the intuitions we gain from the one divine Mind, we can feel greater freedom from the fear that crime can touch our--or anyonelives.