Doing violence—or undoing it?

As you're reading this today, there probably isn't a major metropolitan newspaper anywhere in the world that isn't running a report of some act of violence. Street crime, racial antagonisms, religious strife, war, terrorism—these things too frequently capture front-page headlines. And obviously it isn't simply because such events offer opportunities for sensational stories. They are symptoms of serious societal problems. We can't ignore them. The cost to people's lives and to society runs so high that attempting to calculate it with any meaningful statistical measure or study would seem almost impossible. But do we have to be overwhelmed by it all or paralyzed with despair? Isn't there something that each of us can do to help find solutions?

Yes. But the place to start is not actually "out there" where it looks as though all of the violence is occurring. We need to begin with our thinking. What we hold in thought on any subject has a direct effect on our lives and on the world around us. Yet people often don't realize the consequences of their thinking. There can even be the assumption that it doesn't really matter what a person thinks, that it's only what he or she does that counts. Of course our actions count a great deal. Still, Christian Science, which is the Science of original Christianity, teaches that thought is fundamental to experience. People and society don't live in a vacuum—or a merely physically outlined environment. There is an atmosphere of thought to which we all contribute and which forms the basis of much that we encounter in human life, both individually and collectively.

Fear, as one example, is an element of mortal thought that can be palpable. Animals of prey respond aggressively to it in other animals. Fear certainly doesn't serve to protect us, and overcoming it is essential. But to defeat fear and find safety through prayer rather than material means doesn't make a person vulnerable to the attacks of evildoers; it makes him strong. Spiritual courage and a steadfast conviction in the ever-present power of God, infinite Love, have enabled people to confront violent situations, to face them down, to be safe, and even to bring healing.

Let God be your guide in the world
May 31, 1993

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.