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Strive for an enlightened response to news

From the January 8, 2018 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

When bombshell headlines in the news come fast and furious, and leave us feeling helpless, angry, and confused, what’s our response? These past few years, as politics in the United States have heated up, tempers have flared and accusations have multiplied. Caught up in the drama, I found myself engaging in arguments on social media and in heated face-to-face discussions with friends.

Exhausted from all the turmoil, I longed for a sense of peace and a better understanding of how to deal with news reports. My prayers led me to revisit the story of Job, where I found parallels, fresh inspiration, and a greater sense of peace. 

Job faced incredibly tough challenges when he was confronted with a series of devastating reports about his health, his family, and his life in general. Then some of his friends got together to discuss, argue, find fault, and point fingers.

It is not until Job turns away from all the noise and listens to God’s mighty voice that he better understands the omnipotence and supremacy of God. As a result, his health and his life are restored.

As I studied this Bible story, I saw myself in a similar place as Job and his friends were—rehashing the drama of each news headline from every possible angle. And it wasn’t helping. I realized there was a better way to respond to the onslaught of information. I didn’t have to be alarmed, fearful, angry, or agitated, nor should I just shrug my shoulders and dismissively say “Everything will work out,” or “Oh well, I can’t do anything about it anyway.” 

Job’s friends formed one opinion after another trying to find the cause of his problems, but reached no conclusion. 

With each headline, I began to step out of the temptation to engage in a useless maze of argument and instead to immediately turn to the powerful spiritual facts of God’s omnipotence, His creation, and His government. I would start my prayers with God in order to get a clearer understanding of my and everyone’s relationship to Him.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes about this approach in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Reasoning from cause to effect in the Science of Mind, we begin with Mind, which must be understood through the idea which expresses it and cannot be learned from its opposite, matter” (p. 467).

I began by taking a stand for the eternal qualities of God that I hold dear and that we each innately express: intelligence, morality, compassion, strength, honesty. I reasoned that as God’s children, we could expect to recognize these spiritual qualities and celebrate them whenever they are manifested in human government. I began to embrace those qualities each day. They formed my “personal party platform.” 

I wanted to know that my stance on certain issues was grounded in my love for God and man, and didn’t come from mortal judgment or fear. In my conversations with friends, I found myself quietly denying the politics of division and hate, and affirming the unifying presence of God’s eternal government—“the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love” (Mrs. Eddy, Manual of The Mother Church, p. 41). As a result, tempers were often calmed and thoughtful discussion ensued.

Job’s friends formed one opinion after another trying to find the cause of his problems, but reached no conclusion. I saw that the negative comments sometimes made on social media only kept my thinking wandering in the maze of mortal causation and did not point me toward God’s government. So I began responding more thoughtfully to these posts and also made an effort to support or “like” posts that advocated for peace and thoughtful discussion. I noticed that my anxiety was relieved and heated responses to opposing viewpoints were softened.

We can take a stand for the qualities of Spirit.

We read in Science and Health: “This material world is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces. On one side there will be discord and dismay; on the other side there will be Science and peace” (p. 96). 

The headlines would have us believe these conflicting forces are political parties and ideologies that separate us, but as children of God we can never be separated from Him or divided into conflicting groups. As I made a daily effort to side with Science and peace, I saw more clearly that the laws of God govern us all. 

We can take a stand for the qualities of Spirit and resist the temptation to identify a man or a woman, or any group of people, as innately cruel, selfish, or dishonest. We don’t have to defend unacceptable or abusive behavior, but we do have to pray daily to see that the evils that make the headlines—hate, anger, violence, misogyny, and bigotry—will collapse before divine Truth because they are not of God. We can affirm that man created in God’s image can’t be either a perpetrator or a victim of evil. 

As the reign of Love takes hold in our consciousness, everyone we think of is naturally blessed. We increasingly see everyone’s innate goodness as a child of God. Those most in need of divine Love’s blessing may sometimes seem to be the most difficult to bless! However, in doing so we can’t help but be blessed, too. 

I continued to spend time looking for the spiritual “spark” that was expressed by those making headlines and knew they are never separated from their Father-Mother God. As I put God and His government first, I wasn’t stressed by the news or fearful and angry about world events.

We don’t need to feel manipulated or emotionally wrung out over every news report. We can remember Job’s revelation, acknowledge the supremacy of God’s government first, and let that be our basis for finding lasting peace for ourselves and for the world.

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