Dominion—and our responsibility

It's encouraging to know that maintaining control over one's own thoughts and actions can serve to protect one from harm. It's even more encouraging to do it, and to be protected thereby. I recall having such an experience as a very young child.

Pet dogs of various shapes, sizes, and temperaments were common in the neighborhood where I grew up. Most were friendly, but occasionally some were not. Because of this, and especially because there was no law requiring owners to leash their dogs, my parents taught me how to discipline myself in a way that would discourage dogs from harming me. For one thing, they taught me that if a dog should run toward me barking or growling as I walked by its house on my way to school, I should stay completely calm and unafraid, and continue to walk along the sidewalk normally as if nothing unusual were happening. They explained that this would assure the dog that I had no intention of harming him, or of trespassing on the property he was guarding, and he would leave me alone.

I confidently took my parents' advice to heart and followed it explicitly. I remember one day keeping myself very quiet inside and out as I walked by the house of a mean-looking, charging, snarling chow chow as if I weren't noticing him. He came only as far as the edge of the sidewalk; and he immediately turned off his display of ferociousness as soon as I passed by. I hadn't felt afraid, but instead felt I was doing something that would keep me safe. I had felt in charge of myself, instead of at the mercy of a mean dog. Looking back on it now, I realize I had experienced the blessings of man's God-given dominion—because I had exercised that dominion. Since then I've learned, and continue to learn, a great deal more about dominion—and the importance of putting it into practice in one's life—through my study of Christian Science.

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Testimony of Healing
A member of my family came from a communist country to...
November 27, 1995

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