The right way
wins the right of way,
even the way of Truth and Love
whereby all our debts are paid,
mankind blessed, and God glorified.

—Mary Baker Eddy

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 232

PICTURE YOURSELF sitting at your dining room table. Stacked up in front of you are the latest piles of bills that you owe. You open the first one and it's well over a thousand dollars—money that you've charged on your credit card. Each bill continues to add to the overall total until you suddenly are feeling panicky—especially when you think your bills might outweigh your ability to pay them. Or maybe you've already maxed out all your credit cards and can't even pay the interest on them. And you know that more bills are on the way. You're beginning to feel desperate. And you don't know where to turn for help.

Students: Get
JSH-Online for
  • Every recent & archive issue

  • Podcasts & article audio

  • Mary Baker Eddy bios & audio



According to The New York Times Magazine, June 11, 2006, debt is the American way. The headline in the opening piece of the magazine reads this way: "The American Way of Debt. We moralize about it. Then we borrow." This piece by Jackson Lears, editor of Raritan: A Quarterly Review, brings out that "consumer indebtedness is soaring, the savings rate is down to zero and people are filing for bankruptcy at record rates." He goes on to say, "The fattest nation on earth is also the greediest consumer of global resources and now is borrowing more than ever to satisfy its appetites."

The same issue carries such non-reassuring headlines as "Hooray for Bankruptcy!" subtitled "The guilt wasn't as bad as I thought it would be." And "My Debt, Their Asset," subtitled "When Larry gave me a mortgage, it seemed like an act of grace. Then Larry was gone." The magazine discusses such debt-related issues as student loans, the collapse in household savings, Internet gambling, and rising educational costs.

And then there's the global economy. What happens around the world, can impact what happens at home—wherever home happens to be. Abnormal fluctuations in the global economy, "natural" disasters, terrorism, all have the potential to throw global markets out of kilter, affecting not only global financial institutions, but individuals as well.

And, in a consumer-oriented world, society thrives on the ready availability of goods and services, and the ability to purchase them. If you don't have ready cash, no problem—you can charge it. Credit is always available. And that's where many people run into trouble. Not only is it easy to buy on credit, this is heartily encouraged. With such easy purchasing power available, buying can become almost addictive. And it can easily get out of control. That's often when debt sets in. The encouragement to purchase on credit—to buy homes, cars, and luxury items with a piece of plastic—has become the rule rather than the exception. It's all so easy: Just pull out that card, sign the slip, and the product is yours. Until the bills come in, that is.

And when the day of reckoning comes, as staggering amounts of due bills arrive in the mail box, the question nags: "Is there any way out of this?"

The answer to this question is a resounding "Yes!" There is a way out. It's called prayer.

There are, of course, organizations designed to help free those burdened by debt from financial imprisonment. And anything that can help lift that burden has the possibility of being helpful. But lifting the burden off the backs of those who are being weighed down by debt, and staying out of debt, is best accomplished through spiritual means alone.

Debt does not have to become a way of life, nor is it something we can just never put behind us. Prayer can accomplish marvelous things. If prayer can heal cancer and diabetes and other serious physical and mental illnesses, it can surely heal debt.


One place to start is to prayerfully know and declare that God is All-in-all. That there is no other power beyond the infinite, universal Mind that governs each of us. Materiality will oppose this kind of thinking, but materiality presents a false picture of life. It says we lack good in our lives. It says we're dissatisfied, that we don't have enough, and never will. It says life is hopeless, and unfair. That we'll never be as well off as the other guy.

And, too, the carnal mind would make us crave material goods—it would try to tell us that it's OK to put a few extra purchases on the credit card. It will try to tell us that we can pay those cards off, no problem. It entices us into kidding ourselves that everything will be OK. Just charging a few more things won't make that big a difference.

But when runaway debt gets out of control, the situation can seem very frightening. And fear can attempt to immobilize us to the point where it even becomes difficult to pray about the situation. But that negative excited state can be healed. We can find the peace and calm to consistently pray humbly about the situation.

In fact, as soon as we make up our mind that the belief of debt—and that's just what it is, a belief—can be healed, we're on our way to healing. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures says, "It is well to be calm in sickness; to be hopeful is still better; but to understand that sickness is not real and that Truth can destroy its seeming reality, is best of all, for this understanding is the universal and perfect remedy" (Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 393—394). Perhaps it could be helpful to paraphrase this statement in dealing with overwhelming debt. Suppose we read the statement this way: ''It is well to be calm in debt; to be hopeful is still better; but to understand that debt is not real and that Truth can destroy its seeming reality, is best of all, for this understanding is the universal and perfect remedy."

We can never find ourselves in a situation that's hopeless. Even staggering debt is simply a material belief about the concept of supply and demand. As we begin to put that belief behind us and align ourselves with the divine Mind, our thought about debt and despair begins to improve. As long as matterbased thinking is key in thinking about supply of any kind, we limit our thought—and our demonstration—to material conditions. The need is to raise our concept of who we are, to understand that where we live and move and have our being is actually in the realm of infinitely abundant divine Spirit—and thus rise above material conditions to a more spiritual view of reality. There is no debt in Spirit or God.

Consider for a moment what God knows, or doesn't know, about debt and the conditions that seem to surround it. To begin with, Spirit knows no limitations. And we are limitless spiritual ideas, created by God. A spiritual idea can incur no debt. It cannot make erroneous decisions relative to spending. A spiritual idea cannot be encumbered, depressed, or mentally imprisoned by decisions that were possibly made as a result of human will or mortal enticement. God's ideas are free. They are not bound by the confines of materiality, money, debt, discouragement. God is infinitely rich in His blessings. And because He created us as His spiritual ideas, we can, in reality, never experience debt or lack of any kind.

Reasoning from the standpoint that God is All, we can immediately realize that materiality simply cannot be the truth of any situation. God, or infinite Mind, is the direct source of ideas that are always available to us, as we acknowledge His presence and power in our lives. Each of us is eternally cared for and protected by Mind. And as we step by step substitute spiritual thinking for material thinking—as we draw closer to God and feel His presence—we can't help but make progress in the effort to become debt free, and financially stable.

I remember a time when life was very difficult for me. I'd graduated from a professional school and was looking for employment. I was living on virtually nothing—and felt too proud to ask my family for financial assistance. I had very little to live on, and ate once a day—trying to save enough to pay my rent. And although, through prayer, I eventually obtained satisfying employment, during the time I was financially desperate I somehow felt so free—and so totally close to God. That may sound strange. But during that time I learned a great deal about staying close to God—relying on Him for everything, moment by moment. What I learned through that experience has helped me ever since. Of course, we don't need to go through tough situations in order to feel close to God. But what that experience showed me is that we can never be out of the atmosphere of God no matter what the human situation seems to be saying. We're never beyond His care.

Jesus innately understood his oneness with God and his ability to demonstrate that oneness. And because of that understanding, he didn't accept limitation of any kind. He fed the multitudes with just five loaves and two fishes, and turned the water into wine at a wedding feast. Jesus wasn't materially wealthy in any sense of the word. His desire, though, appears to have been to care for and bless others—to bring the truth of being more deeply to their understanding. To prove that God is our constant source of supply. That His ideas are always there for us to draw on. That He cares for every detail of our lives.

As the image of the all-sufficient Mind, Life, Intelligence and Love, we can never be less than satisfied with the way God created us. Infinite Being never created us to drown in a sea of debt and discouragement or to spend beyond our human means. God has created us to be receptive to His leadings, to follow His wise counsel, to function in accord with Him. He impels our every thought, move, and action.

As we step by step
substitute spiritual thinking
for material thinking—
as we draw closer to God
and feel His presence—
we can't help but make progress
in the effort to become debt free,
and financially stable.

Looking Spiritward enables us to move beyond the darkness of debt and to realize we're actually the children of Light. This isn't something we have to wait for. We are at this point now. It is our privilege to see God's law of abundance and security operate in our lives today—not at some future date in some future place. Our trust in Him, and our prayers, our drawing close to God and our obedience to His will and direction, can enable us to leave debt behind—forever. And our reliance on God will bring peace and security into our lives and the lives we touch—now and always.CSS

August 14, 2006

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.