Antagonism of the right sort
In his healing works, Christ Jesus was mentally hostile to conditions causing suffering, to the point of their destruction.
For years, a friend of mine was plagued with nightmares. After awakening from these troubling episodes, he would be physically exhausted and emotionally upset, which affected his work throughout the day. He began to dread going to sleep, staying up as late as possible to try to induce deeper sleep and avoid the nightmares. Finally, he committed himself wholeheartedly to Christian Science to face the condition head on.
As he did so, he understood more deeply that there is truly only one Mind, one intelligence—God—and that this God, who is also Love, could not produce such dreams. Instead, they were the suggestions of “mortal mind,” the belief that there is a mind separate from God. Because they did not come from the divine Mind, they could not lay claim to his sleeping or waking thought or control his life in any way. As this enlightened understanding swept over my friend, it enabled him to sleep more soundly, and within a few months he was and continues to be completely free.
My friend confronted this challenge with the expectation of healing, even though it had been an issue for many years.
The thing I admired about my friend’s approach was his willingness to confront this challenge with the expectation of healing, even though it had been an issue for many years. He stopped trying to manage the problem and put up his spiritual “dukes,” so to speak—employed the spiritual weapons available to him through Christian Science to overcome a chronic condition that had seemed incurable.
The textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, instructs us to actively resist any thought, ailment, symptom, or action that is taking away our peace. Mrs. Eddy writes, “The only course is to take antagonistic grounds against all that is opposed to the health, holiness, and harmony of man, God’s image” (p. 392). She also advises, “Speak the truth to every form of error” (p. 418)—“error” being whatever is opposite to the true nature of God and His creation as wholly good.
The word antagonistic is defined as showing or feeling active opposition toward someone or something. While being contentious or antagonistic toward people doesn’t make for good relationships or teamwork, being antagonistic toward error or mortal mind is exactly what is needed. Although he was noted for being supremely humble, our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, took strong antagonistic grounds against harsh Pharisaical doctrine. And in his healing works, he was mentally hostile to any conditions, or beliefs, causing suffering, to the point of their destruction.
But how do we “take antagonistic grounds”? We can start, as my friend did, by educating ourselves about the nature of God. As we research the spiritual facts of God by studying the Bible and Science and Health, we learn all sorts of magnificent, expansive things about the nature, infinitude, and totality of God, divine Spirit. We see more clearly that God is All—all action, force, consciousness, being, substance, and so on—and is all good. And we learn to recognize ourselves and others not as mortals with problems but as peaceful, healthy, perfect immortals, each uniquely expressing God’s goodness. We are divine Love’s spiritual ideas. How remarkably freeing it is to know this!
This knowing and praying can be characterized not only by quiet listening but by mental energy that enables us to take antagonistic grounds against erroneous beliefs that may seem to have dug in. Healing doesn’t come from being sleepy, lazy, apathetic, or passive. To be effective, a protester requires energy. A good soldier requires energy. A good attorney argues their case with energy. Silencing self-pity, frenzy, or indolence, we can put down what is frightening or limiting us with spiritual truths that destroy evil’s claims.
Science and Health encourages us to “meet the incipient stages of disease with as powerful mental opposition as a legislator would employ to defeat the passage of an inhuman law. Rise in the conscious strength of the spirit of Truth to overthrow the plea of mortal mind, alias matter, arrayed against the supremacy of Spirit. . . .
“Instead of blind and calm submission to the incipient or advanced stages of disease, rise in rebellion against them” (pp. 390–391).
Christ enables us to refute even commonly accepted discords.
It’s important to understand the difference between this insistence on spiritual Truth and the use of mere human will in trying to eradicate a problem. The humility that recognizes the authority of the divine will is what has the power to destroy all discord, every “plea of mortal mind.” We can give up all sense of material process and all desire to be in control when we recognize and yield to divine Love’s good will for us. This enables us to faithfully insist that only good—only what Love mandates—is real.
A young woman did just this when her husband said he was experiencing symptoms of a stroke and requested that she call an ambulance. As she did so, she was calm and 100 percent certain that her husband was entirely spiritual—a child of infinite, omnipotent Life, God. Her daughter ran to get Science and Health and began reading it out loud. Both mother and daughter vehemently refuted what the physical senses were reporting and held to the spiritual facts. By the time the ambulance arrived, all the symptoms had disappeared. All the tests the ambulance staff were required to administer indicated “normal,” and the man has remained perfectly well since.
The same powerful truths that were operating in this family’s experience to displace false, frightening impressions are present to drive out such mortal mind impressions in our own experience. This is the activity of Christ, the truth of our union with divine Love, and enables us to confidently refute even commonly accepted beliefs of discords such as relationship issues, financial challenges, sensuality, and physical illness and disability. We can and must take antagonistic grounds against such ailments, including mental disease. They are no more valid or to be agreed with than the haunting dreams of my friend.
Mrs. Eddy explains, “By lifting thought above error, or disease, and contending persistently for truth, you destroy error” (Science and Health, p. 400). When spiritually antagonistic grounds are taken—and sometimes great persistence is needed—thought ultimately yields to Truth’s supremacy, and healing occurs. Each of us has the God-given authority to do this holy work and be liberated from ungodlike influences. We are not evil’s doormat. We are created as divine Love’s sons and daughters to reflect His dominion, royalty, and abundant well-being.