Claim Your Freedom (2)
Eugene Depold Tyc, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Today, we're going to discuss prisons - the kinds of prisons people find themselves in, and how they can gain their release from these prisons. It's an important subject to each one of us. Whether we realize it or not, we're all to some degree in prison.
Now when I say prisons, maybe you think first of buildings made of stone, cement, and steel bars. Buildings that are filled with men or women called prisoners, who have been found guilty of some crime or other. A prisoner generally means someone confined in such a building.
None of us here is in a prison cell behind bars. But how many of us can say without reservation, "I'm not a prisoner. I'm quite free"? Or if we did, would it be true? More than three centuries ago the English poet Lovelace wrote:
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage."
As a Christian Science practitioner and institutional chaplain, I have found these words to be true. Not all prisoners are behind bars.
And, I'll show you why. Let me ask you, Is there anyone here who is ill, or has a loved one who is ill? Do you know someone who is at home or in a hospital confined to a sickbed or a wheelchair? Does anyone here need a job, or companionship, or a home, or money to pay his bills? Is there anyone here, or anywhere, who feels that he must use tobacco, alcohol, or drugs in order to show poise or courage, or to feel relaxed and have fun? And how about the man who ignores all signs, speed limits, no admittance, stop, who, in fact, ignores all forms of authority?
And that hasn't nearly exhausted the list of prisons! How about the prisoners of age? You know, the ones who believe that the names and numbers in the telephone books are being printed a lot smaller than before. Those who seem to have lost their pep and interest in life.
And then, how about the persons who would rather cross the street, or turn their backs, than face someone they dislike? They live in the prison of hatred and resentment. There seem to be so many prisons - tension, fear, pride, immaturity, heredity, the color of our skin, lack of education, a boring job.
Of course, many of us are hard at work trying to get out of our particular prison. Even our astronauts - and perhaps you've never thought of them as prisoners - even our astronauts are trying to get out of the gravitational field of earth to reach the wonders of the universe.
So it's not walls and bars that keep us imprisoned. What does? Isn't it our own mental conditions? We can never be completely free until we overcome in ourselves the restricting mental condition that is the cause of our imprisonment.
And how can we do this? Almost 2000 years ago Christ Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John ). Today, we're going to take a good look together at how to replace mental bars and bolts with big open windows and wide open doors; at the Christly method of replacing restrictive mental conditions with that knowledge of divine Truth that reveals our true nature - that makes us free.
First, we'll see how the understanding of our true nature can release us from the prison called sickness. Then, how it can release from the prisons of sin or of bad or unstable character. And, finally, how it can open the gates of that dreary jail called lack or limited resources.
Man's True Nature
Christ Jesus knew the truth. He knew the truth of man's real nature. And this truth enabled him to free men from those mental conditions, from that ignorance of man's true nature, which place them in the prison of sickness. This truth was the basis of his healing and liberating works.
What is this truth about you and me that heals the sick? What is our true nature? If we want to know the answer to this question, isn't it logical to ask first what is the nature of man's creator, what is the nature of God?
The Bible assures us in the book of Jeremiah (31:34), "They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord." It was Jesus' mission to demonstrate for mankind the true nature of God. And it was his complete expression of the divine nature which makes us call him the Christ.
In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, offers this thought-provoking definition:
"God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (p. 465). It is just such a God that we find expressed in the life of Jesus.
The true, deeply satisfying idea of God that Jesus taught and lived revealed divine Truth. No better example of divine Love in action can be found than his compassionate three-year ministry. In his raising of the dead and in his own resurrection and ascension he demonstrated the power of eternal Life. His swift answers to all questions proved that the intelligence of all-knowing Mind is ever present and ever available. When he subdued discordant material conditions through spiritual means alone, he demonstrated Spirit's allness and supremacy. His sense of abundant and unwasting substance enabled him to feed multitudes in a desert place and identified God as all-sustaining Soul. And all through his experience he presented evidence of divine Principle's orderly government and protection of its own.
In these ways Jesus humanly exemplified the eternal Christ, Truth, the ever-present true idea of God. Speaking of this healing and liberating Christ, Truth, Mrs. Eddy says, "This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him" (Science and Health, p. 26).
We see then how Jesus presented and patterned the divine nature. But isn't it reasonable to expect that all men will resemble their creator? The real man's nature always expresses or reflects the divine nature of his Maker. The Scriptures tell us that God made man in His image and likeness. The prophet Isaiah makes this point when he represents God as saying of His people, "I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him . . . therefore ye are my witnesses" (Isa. 43:7,12). The truth of man is that God created him in His image and likeness. And since God created man to be His witness, man lives to express God, to express the divine nature.
It was by his knowledge of the nature of God, and of man as reflecting this divine nature, that Jesus healed. He set men free from whatever imprisoning mental conditions didn't express the Mind which is God, "the mind of Christ," as the Apostle Paul called it (I Cor. 2:16). Then their bodily conditions conformed to changed and improved mental conditions. You see our bodily conditions inevitably reflect our mental conditions. We need to know the truth about ourselves, know what our true nature is as God's expression, and let this truth decide our experience. It will liberate us from the prison of sickness and from every other type of imprisoning condition.
How Jesus Healed
As Jesus taught others, by his example, to understand their real manhood, he awakened them to their true freedom - to their Christliness. Then disease lost its power in their thinking and disappeared from their bodies.
How did this happen? Well, many of you may recall that occasion in the synagogue when Jesus was met by a man with a withered hand. But Jesus didn't accept this false charge against man. He understood that God, divine Love, had never created or caused man, His beloved son, to be imperfect. And that man lives to express Spirit's unwasting substance, Spirit's perfection and wholeness. So, when Jesus said to the man, "Stretch forth thine hand," the man stretched it forth "and it was restored whole, like as the other" (Matt. ,13). Apparently the man had responded in some degree to the Christ, Truth, that God's expression is healthy, strong, and sound. This freed him from the false charge of physical impairment. He stood there whole, expressing health and strength and soundness.
It didn't make any difference to Jesus what the imprisoning conditions were. He healed and liberated from them all. The blind, the leper, the crippled, even the dead, were restored to health and wholeness by the presence and power of the Christ, Truth - by Jesus' understanding of the true nature of God and man. And by his living what he understood. Referring to Jesus' healing activity, Science and Health explains: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick" (pp. 476,477).
Jesus' healing work proved that man has a perfect, indestructible selfhood, expressing the qualities of God's nature. No sickness can resist an active understanding that God created man not physical, not out of matter, but spiritual and therefore eternally healthy and whole. The Christ, Truth, is the healing and saving activity of God. In the Science of this Christ, Truth, every lie about man, every false charge that man can be or is sick, is destroyed when he is seen as God's spiritual likeness and eternal witness. Then the prison doors swing open.
How the Christ, Truth, Still Heals Today
The healing activity of Truth wasn't limited to the time of Jesus. He is the Way-shower for all time. And he clearly told mankind, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John ). Everyone who believes on the Christ - who understands the Christ, Truth - will find himself progressively expressing the divine nature. And everyone who accepts this Truth will find himself liberated from all types of imprisonment.
Let me tell you about a man I know, a Christian Scientist, who was healed of severe burns through an understanding of the Christ, Truth. One day this man, a brilliant engineer working with the Navy, was in a Government laboratory when a large container of corrosive chemical exploded. The chemical completely engulfed him.
It entered his eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs, making it almost impossible for him to breathe or to see.
He experienced no panic, and began to realize the spiritual facts about himself. That he was the expression of God, and not subject to accidents or injury. Soon he was able to breathe a little. In the meantime he had been taken to a hospital for examination, but at his request no medical treatment was given. The medical authorities described his condition as critical because of first, second, and third degree burns, and his request to be released was denied for about two hours.
By this time he couldn't see and his face was unrecognizable. He could speak only with great difficulty. When he finally arrived home, his wife called a Christian Science practitioner for help, that is, for treatment through prayer.
The practitioner realized that my friend needed to be awakened to his true nature as the likeness of God. As he prayed, he denied the physical evidence, and declared man's perfection as the likeness of God. He challenged the evidence of destruction as false. He saw that the indestructible spiritual substance of man could never be damaged, or the spiritual faculty of sight be impaired. He knew that God maintains man free from any contaminating or deteriorating influence. During this time the man's wife read to him day and night from the Bible and Science and Health.
The man awakened to the truth of what he really was, to man's perfect selfhood, which is always healthy and intact. The healing took place rapidly. In three days he could see and speak. Soon all evidence of inflammation in his face and throat faded away. The healing was so complete - he was so free - that, when my friend returned to work, no one questioned him about his experience.
The prison doors of disease, accident, or deterioration will always open when man's true nature is understood. When we realize that there is no evil force or law that can harm or destroy us - that can interfere with divine Love's purpose for His creation. God created man as the expression of His own spiritual nature, and it is His loving plan to keep us in perfect health, safety, and freedom. The book of Isaiah affirms, "I am God, and there is none else . . . and I will do all my pleasure" (46:9,10).
Man Is Never Separated from God
A second prison that some find themselves in is that of weak or unstable character. At its worst this prison becomes viciousness and sin. How do men get there? Because they're ignorant of their true selfhood, ignorant that this real self expresses all the qualities of God.
Millions of people are sentenced to this prison because of this ignorance. They lose sight of the fact that they're the beloved witnesses of God - that God, divine Love, provides their completeness, happiness, and satisfaction. They believe the lie that man can be separated from God, good; they submit to the false charges that they're incomplete, dissatisfied, and unhappy. Then they try to make good or get good on their own. And so, they become imprisoned by dishonesty, lawlessness, hate, envy, sensuality, enslaving habits.
We define God as infinite Mind, immortal and divine, the only real Mind or intelligence. The belief in many finite personal minds apart from the divine Mind - minds with wills of their own trying to make good on their own - this belief we call mortal mind, a false, material sense of mind. This supposed mind claims to be a power, a creator. It suggests that God, Spirit, is far away, out there or up there or in a distant future heaven. It says man lives in matter, is dependent on matter, and is subject to material laws and conditions, sometimes better, sometimes worse.
Then it gets busy telling each of us that we are this material mortal and that we must lie, cheat, or kill to get more matter. It tells us that lawlessness is justifiable at times. Or that dishonesty is excusable under certain conditions. Or that being resentful, or inconsiderate, can be necessary. Or that we've had a raw deal and must get even with the world. It justifies our indulgence in these actions by saying, "Just this once," or "Take a chance," or "No one will know." This kind of thinking is mortal mind in action. If we go along with it, it leads us straight to prison.
This material man, that mortal
mind so busily talks up, is really not man at all. This medical, penal, welfare, and national statistic is a lie about man. Jesus
spoke of this false sense of man when he told the Pharisees, "Ye are of
your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. . . . He is a liar, . . ." (John ). Or as Science and Health puts it,
"Mortals are the counterfeits of immortals" (p. 476). Mortals
are the product of mortal mind, "the carnal mind" which,
Since God is Spirit, His man must be spiritual. Then man is not material. As the perfect likeness of God, man inherits the nature of God. Then the materialistic nature of mortal mind is no part of his real manhood. If we want to be free and stay free, we must reject the false picture of man. We must see that it's the nature of evil to lie about us. When we believe these lies, we're denying the allness of God and allowing ourselves to be separated from good. Then we deny our true identity and character as God's witnesses. We find ourselves first the accused and then in prison. Our need is to reject this and accept our true role as God's witnesses, witnesses for infinite good.
Truth Destroys the Lie
Now, how can we defend ourselves
against the accusations and charges of material thinking?
Christ Jesus proved this. When men or women accused of undisciplined, lawless activity were brought before him, he didn't accept these verdicts. He recognized clearly the lies of mortal mind, but he saw through these lies. Right where a sinner seemed to be, he saw God's likeness expressing only the qualities of good and never separated from God. His understanding of man's true nature and the response of these people to this Christly truth liberated them. For example: when the adulterous woman was brought before Jesus, he didn't join her accusers and condemn her. Instead, he showed her how to be free from sin. He sent her on her way with the command, "Go, and sin no more." In other words, Go, reject mortal mind's lies, its domination of your thinking and actions. Be yourself. And be free. Each one of us can overcome lies, false charges, and accusations in the same way. The reforming and liberating Christ, Truth, is here, available to all. In this Science reform and liberation go hand in hand. They are never separated.
One of the great problems facing us today is alcoholism. For example, in some of the large penal institutions I served, 80% of the women inmates, and better than 50% of the men were in custody because of alcohol.
I spoke to many of these unhappy people. In almost every case imprisoning mental conditions of fear, lonesomeness, or discouragement had caused them to try to find courage, poise, or contentment in a bottle. You know the answer, they never did.
This false charge of enslavement to alcohol is dismissed when man is seen as God's likeness, reflecting the divine qualities of love, intelligence, and usefulness. Qualities we all possess, and can always express. God constantly provides man, His beloved son, with all that he needs to be fully satisfied. This understanding and the Christly assurance that man is God's perfect witness heals the victim of his craving for alcohol. Wherever alcohol is being used to "have fun," or "to find some courage," or "to forget," God provides a right sense of companionship, of activity, supply, and happiness, whatever seems to be lacking.
Many people have been permanently healed, and released from this overcrowded prison, when they learned to understand man's true nature as God's witness.
Drug Addiction Overcome
Increasing drug addiction is another result of accepting mortal mind's lies. First this false sense of mind charges men with feeling frustrated, undisciplined, rebellious, hostile, or defeated. Then it tells them they can find peace and well-being in a pill, a drug, or a needle. The drug addicts claim they're doing it for "kicks," saying, "I'm way out, man," when they really mean, "I'm confused and afraid."
It's still regarded as an open question by many authorities whether drug addiction is primarily a criminal or a health problem. In either case the cause of this condition is the same: Ignorance of man's true nature. And the cure is the same: Understanding the truth that man lives to express - and does express - self-control, usefulness, intelligence, and contentment.
A great number of drug addicts have been freed from this false charge of mortal mind by turning to Christian Science. One of these is now a friend of mine. Let me tell you about this man. When I first met him he had just been released, on probation, from an institution for drug addicts. This had been his second imprisonment. He again faced the false charge that it was very difficult to be freed from this type of enslavement. However, my friend had found Christian Science in the institution, and glimpsed something of man's true nature as God's likeness. This made him feel he could be permanently freed from the use of drugs and become a good citizen. He asked for help, and began the study of Christian Science. He not only was healed of the craving for drugs, but now his ambition is to help others find their release from this prison. Whenever I see him, I'm so grateful for this proof that man can't be separated from good and that there is in reality no mortal mind to suggest this lie to him. God's love meets the human needs of everyone who turns to it for help.
Every false charge that man is dominated by any enslaving habit is dismissed when we learn that man never needs to look outside for satisfaction. He's already satisfied, because he possesses within himself all good as God's likeness.
Dishonesty is another false charge. Cheating in educational institutions; excessive waste of productive hours in industry; thievery, ranging from shoplifting to national scandals.
But can these really be true about man, God's witness? God, the divine Principle of man, created each one of us honest and obedient to true law. That this can be proved, I know to be a fact.
Many years ago, when I was employed in a large retail store, it was reported to me that a $100 bill had been stolen from a cash register. This was on a Friday evening. I immediately refused to accept this false accusation that man is dishonest. I knew instead that man is always honest, because God made him that way. I also knew that nothing could tempt man to act contrary to his Godlike nature.
To everyone's surprise but mine the bill was returned the following Monday morning. It was in an envelope containing an unsigned note saying, "I can't keep this. I can't be dishonest."
Every charge, every accusation of mortal mind is a lie about God and man. A lie that there are two worlds. A world of decency and order, and a world of crime, selfishness, and unrest. The Psalmist tells us, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Ps. 24:1). There's only one world. God's world, peopled with His sons and daughters. They never have to make good or get good, because they are never separated from good.
God, infinite divine Mind, created man honest, intelligent, and obedient to His wholly good will and purpose for man. Therefore man is never guilty of being responsive or subject to any suggestion of a supposed mind apart from God. As we awake to this fact, hatred, false cravings, moral delinquency, and the rest can't be pinned on us. We can't be framed. Whatever the accusation may be, God's man is never guilty, never in prison. He expresses God's nature, loving, pure, and satisfied. There is no one who can't start proving this, right where he is, today.
There Is No Limitation
But what about the third prison: the prison of lack and limitation? The prisoners here are certainly not satisfied. People, all over the world, are suffering from poverty, unemployment, or lack of education. Accused of being poor, hungry, homeless, untrained, unloved, and unwanted. Suffering, because they don't understand that God loves and provides for us all abundantly.
Christ Jesus' life was a perfect example of how God, divine Love, provides for man, His image and likeness. Jesus never needed for food, for clothing, or a place to stay. His needs were always met quickly. This was the natural result of his understanding the truth that Spirit, God, is the source of infinite supply. That He provides each one of us with all good. That man is really the rich son of a rich Father, with a nature that expresses affluence and productive activity.
Once when tax money was needed, Jesus instructed Peter to go fishing. He told him the first fish he caught would have a piece of silver in its mouth. This money was to be used to pay the tax. Can you think of a less likely place where money could be found?
Now what Jesus did, was to awaken Peter's thought to the infinite resources of Spirit. To see the fallacy of depending only on accepted human ways to meet every need.
On another occasion Jesus fed multitudes in a desert place when the human evidence of supply was only five loaves and two fishes. He demonstrated for mankind how the understanding of man's true nature destroys the false charge that we can lack and how it releases us from the prison of limitation.
Today, we have been falsely educated to believe that our main sources of supply are bank accounts, investments, salaries, a pay envelope, or a pension. And we limit ourselves because we're afraid to use the money; afraid, because we believe mortal mind's lie that it will be depleted and not easily replaced. The real education we need is to understand that God can and does provide all that's needed. And provides in ways we never thought of, if we trust and look to Him. This education will ensure not only abundance but also a wise economy and prudence in spending.
The Christ, Truth, reveals to us that man is never separated from infinite good. We understand that money, a home, a job, or whatever is needed, is the natural outcome of divine Love's infinite supply. We see that limitation and lack can't imprison us. It's the nature of man, as God's witness, to enjoy and express the divine affluence.
Mrs. Eddy amply demonstrated the power of Spirit to release men and women from lack and limitation. In 1866, she was healed of the effects of a severe accident. In her need she turned to God in prayer. She had learned as a child to always rely on Him. As she prayed and read her Bible, her receptive thought glimpsed the true nature of all life as spiritual. And this truth freed her from the prison of sickness.
Because of her deep love for mankind, Mrs. Eddy felt impelled to show all men the spiritual road to freedom. But she was still hemmed in by lack. She had only very limited funds and no rich or influential friends to help her. How was she to pursue the spiritual revelation that had come to her? How was she to follow through with her discovery and share it with the world? There was an answer to her problem and she knew where to find it. So she again turned to her Bible and to God.
In the years that followed, her glimpse of the Christ Science, the spiritual truth of God and man, expanded with these results: she presented this Science, which she named Christian Science, to all in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, and monthly and weekly periodicals to protect, develop, and spread her discovery. And, in her eighty-eighth year she founded an international daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. Where did the money for all this come from? Well, it came from the same source that Jesus' tax-money came from, from the same source that the food to feed the multitude came from. It came from the spiritual understanding of man as the witness of infinite Spirit, of divine Mind's intelligence and Love's provision, and from the effects of this understanding in human experience. Mrs. Eddy explains this in a single brief sentence: "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307).
Freedom for All
Mrs. Eddy's healing and her demonstration of abundant supply weren't miracles. They were the result of effective prayer - prayer that releases men from every type of prison. What is effective prayer? Effective, or scientific, prayer is a realization that God is infinite. That He eternally governs and sustains His image and likeness, man. Prayer is also the ceaseless desire to live so that we express only the thoughts and motives that come from God, divine Mind. Prayer is thanking God for all the good He has created and given us. It is opening our eyes to see this good and to use it wisely and lovingly.
When a Christian Scientist prays for release from some condition - we call this treatment - he declares and affirms God's allness and man's likeness to God. This scientific prayer is the awakening and liberating activity of Truth. It reveals man's present perfection as God's beloved son, expressing the unlimited resources of infinite Spirit.
We can all learn how to pray scientifically, to affirm God's allness and to deny sin, sickness, lack, and limitation - all the false charges on which mortal mind would imprison us. As Christ Jesus healed and liberated in his day, so the impersonal Christ, Truth, is here to heal and liberate today.
I was able to see this for myself early in my marriage. This incident may seem to be a small matter but it was very important to me. It was my first introduction to the practicality of Christian Science. My wife was already a student.
At the time, I was in the army. My
wife and I had spent my short leave together at our home on the West Coast.
Since I was to be shipped overseas soon, we suddenly decided that she should
spend my remaining time in the States with me at my post in
On the way, I became greatly concerned. But my wife calmly informed me that I needn't worry. God would answer her prayers and provide a place for her to stay. Then she spoke to me about man's real nature as the beloved son of God, knowing no lack nor limitation.
To my surprise as we approached my post, I realized that my fears were all gone. In fact, I felt confident that all would be well. We arrived at six-thirty on a Saturday evening, and my wife was given the last available hotel room. It had just been vacated. The next day she was told that the three-day occupancy limit was no longer in effect. And then, in a few days, she was moved into a larger and more comfortable room. Her prayerful reliance on God, her understanding that man possesses and expresses all good, had released me from the lies of fear and lack, and had provided her with an excellent accommodation.
I was so impressed, that I soon began the earnest study of Christian Science. I wanted to help others find release from their prisons, from lack and from limitation, and from every other prison of whatever kind.
Claim Your Freedom
The truth about man's real nature, the truth that we have been discussing, will open the door of every prison - not eventually, but right now.
The Scriptures assure us, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ" (Rev. 12:10). And Science and Health shows us how we can realize this: "Love and Truth make free, but evil and error lead into captivity. Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: 'Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!' " The passage continues: "Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free!" (p. 227).
As we let the Christ, Truth, guide and govern us, we take the Christly qualities and nature into every element of our lives. And we find the will and opportunity to share the blessings of the Christ with our fellowmen, all of them.
Man, the image and likeness of God, is never the accused. He is always the witness of God. So we can refuse to be imprisoned. We can be the man God created. We can live as sons and daughters of God in the freedom of Truth. The divine nature is your nature to express. So be yourself, and be free.
©1967 Eugene Depold Tyc
All rights Reserved