In 21st century warfare, images can be as devastating as bombs. Whether terrorist “photo opportunities” of executions or evidence of abuse by soldiers against prisoners, instant communication allows the average citizen back at home to be hit with painful images of man’s inhumanity to man.
Many people put themselves in a news-free zone in order to avoid becoming demoralized and fearful. This is understandable, but forfeits the opportunity to do anything about the problem. For others, such images serve either to reinforce or change their own opinions. This can spur them to be proactive with governments or institutions involved in the issues.
Many have found that prayer reveals a larger picture.
Among the latter group are those who pray about world problems. Many have found that prayer reveals a larger picture that the few images in the news don’t represent. It’s the spiritual dimension, where everything is under the control of a universal law of divine Love. Holding to this spiritual view not only eases the pain of image-inflicted wounds, but can also extend spiritual support to the victims and guide how justice is meted out to the perpetrators.
A spiritual perspective reveals much more going on than what these few sordid images portray. This position receives strong support from Scripture. The very first use of the word image in the Bible refers to the creation of man (both male and female): “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
It’s possible to live a life according to this statement. It can imply the “image and likeness” of God must be about more than appearance. Could it be about the actual nature of every person? If so, then qualities of divinity such as goodness, intelligence, love, peace and so forth must be woven into the very fabric of which each one of us is made.
What are some of the implications?
If that’s true, what are some of the implications? For one, it could suggest that since images of inhumanity are not all there is to the picture, they’re more like distortions of the truth that can be corrected. As Mary Baker Eddy puts it: “The crude creations of mortal thought must finally give place to the glorious forms which we sometimes behold in the camera of divine Mind, when the mental picture is spiritual and eternal.”
So what’s needed is a way to make those “crude creations” get out of the way, and allow a more spiritually realistic view of God’s pure creation, those “glorious forms,” to predominate in thought. Another name for this focused thought is prayer, and practicing prayer of this sort on a daily basis is a good defense against image shock and its companion emotions. It can help people be more alert to deviations from God’s creation, more inclined toward compassion, more aware of intelligent solutions to situations that give rise to inhumane behavior.
Granted, focusing on the spiritual facts while undergoing a barrage of distortions isn’t always easy, but any effort to do so can help. With a view of existence that’s informed by inspired prayer, the task becomes easier—and blesses all concerned.