Confrontation ends peacefully

Some years ago, my wife and I were walking our puppies in some woodlands not far from our home on a beautiful escarpment in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. At one point, I noticed a couple of young men in the distance and felt something was not right. We were in a secluded area, far from any apparent help, but I dismissed my apprehension and continued our walk, certain that everyone was in God’s presence, surrounded by His love. 

After about half an hour, my wife and I returned to our parked car. The two men were there waiting for us. When I saw them, my thought immediately turned to our Father-Mother God, and I began praying, affirming that we were all safe in His care.

The young men had broken our car window and were worked up, possibly from drugs, into a state of aggressiveness and anger. They demanded our belongings and car key. One started to push me and then hit me with a long stick. The other stood aside with one arm behind his back, as if armed. 

Throughout the experience, my thought remained on God. I knew that nothing was beyond God’s, divine Love’s, control. A great calm flooded me. I refused to believe that these men were evil or could think and act with malicious intentions. While it appeared that they may have had rough lives, or perhaps even lived with violence, I knew that in spiritual reality they were our brothers, the harmless children of our divine Parent, or Father-Mother God. 

From years of studying the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, I have come to understand that things are not what they appear to be. In this case, what appeared as criminal or cruel individuals was not the reality, because it wasn’t what appeared to God. I could awaken from this illusive impression, as from a sleeping dream, in order to see the man that God created and his true, spiritual nature. 

As I silently reasoned from this basis, I continued to remain calm and started talking to the men. I told them there was no need to hit me. I found I was saying things to them that countered all the aggression: that everything was fine, that there was no need to fight. I talked to them as friends.  

The men went through my wallet and found only a small amount of money and my credit cards, which they didn’t want, so they threw the wallet into a bush. I continued talking to them calmly, and they decided to leave us. They gave me back the car key, and then, surprisingly, looked for my wallet in the bushes, found it, and gave it back to me, with everything in it.

On the way home, my wife and I decided to report the incident to the police for the safety of the community, as well as for insurance purposes, so we could have the damage to our vehicle repaired. The police asked us to help them draw up pictures for identification, and as we did so, I continued to see these men for what they truly are: God’s blessed children. In Science and Health, Eddy describes man as “made in the image and likeness of God” and as “idea, the image of Love” (p. 475). This is the real identity of every one of us. 

We heard nothing more about the case. Perhaps what I am most grateful for is that neither my wife nor I felt any sense of violation or resentment. It is as if the entire incident has melted away from our past.

The harmonious resolution of this incident was proof to me that by holding thought to what is spiritually true, we can feel calm in adverse circumstances. And we can experience the safety of God’s loving embrace for all involved. 

Jeremy Campbell 
Cape Town, South Africa

I was standing a bit further back with the puppies while the men focused on my husband. It was amazing to see their aggression dissipate as Jeremy calmly spoke to them. At one point, they asked for the tracksuit pants I was wearing and my shoes. I quickly and firmly replied, “I can’t do that. What will I wear? And they won’t fit you!” They simply accepted that and did not speak to me again until after they had started to leave us. When they were about 15 meters away, they turned and said, “Give us your jewelry.” I lifted my arms to show I was not wearing a watch, and they left, not noticing my engagement and wedding rings and gold earrings. It was as if we were in a protective bubble. 

Anita Campbell

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