Extinguishing tensions of conflict

Adapted from an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, April 25, 2017.

As tensions have increased between North Korea and the rest of the world, many people are praying for answers. My prayers begin by considering the nature of God as the omnipotent source of universal love and goodness, who always cares for His creation. Time and again, I have seen that God provides insights that lead to solutions to even the most frightening problems.

I have been inspired by this idea: “The pent-up elements of mortal mind need no terrible detonation to free them. Envy, rivalry, hate need no temporary indulgence that they be destroyed through suffering; they should be stifled from lack of air and freedom” (Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 356). I see this as a command to say “No!” to the indulgence of any pent-up elements of a “destructive” or “mortal mind.” It turned me from the contemplation of “What will happen if tensions escalate?” to a deep desire to understand how I could be a part of the solution to stifle destructive elements of thought by refusing them air or freedom.

Certainly, “stifling” doesn’t mean ignoring the problem. And it requires more than a vague hope that cooler heads will prevail. The Bible speaks of bringing our thoughts into accord with Christ, the spirit of God, divine Love: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:3–5). This helped me see that the real enemy is not a person, country, or weapons program, but a mental state of envy, rivalry, hate, and fear. So each of us can contribute something to dismantling conflict by casting envy, rivalry, and hatred out of our own hearts and minds.

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