Improving our relationships

Widely publicized efforts in diplomatic circles to improve relations between world powers may nudge some people to recognize that they, also, might work to the same purpose in their own individual lives. To say the least, it is inconvenient not to be on speaking terms with a relative or neighbor for decades—or even days. Yet there are many who have this situation to cope with.

In some cases the problem has its roots in a long-past disagreement—even a forgotten feud between parents or grandparents. Shakespeare dramatized such a situation in his play Romeo and Juliet, making the two famous young lovers martyrs to the senseless hostility of their families, the Capulet's and the Montagues—who perpetuated an ancient quarrel, scarcely recalling what triggered it.

How much better for people to maintain friendly relationships, even if they don't agree on all points or have identical interests. If we respect other people's right to have their own thoughts and opinions, are generously ready to rejoice with them when they rejoice, to support them in their right endeavors, and to help if they are in trouble, we will help to maintain our relationships intact. These graces of Spirit—respect, generosity, and desire to help—coupled with a willingness to compromise on nonessentials and a humble love of truth strong enough to enable one to acknowledge one's own mistakes, will keep us from rousing the hostility that can end in disaster for innocent bystanders as well as for oneself.

Prayer in sports
December 3, 1979

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