Be a peacemaker
There it was again. A flowerpot overturned in the street. This was the fourth time my mail carrier had run over my flower bed. He was obviously disregarding my earlier requests to be more careful.
Deciding that enough was enough, I phoned his supervisor at the main post office and told her my problem. She said she would speak to the carrier about being more careful. As you might imagine, this made relations with my mail carrier frosty.
Then, it finally dawned on me: To find a lasting solution in this situation, I needed to take seriously Christ Jesus’ teachings on the importance of loving our neighbor. His beatitude “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matthew 5:9) kept coming to thought. I realized that I wanted to be considered a child of God, so I recognized that I in turn had to see my mail carrier as also a child of God.
I began to make a prayerful effort to think of this individual as I had been taught in Christian Science to see everyone—as spiritual, made in the image and likeness of God. I continued praying to see this more clearly. Then I decided that the next time I saw the mail truck coming down the street, I would make it a point to go out and speak to the carrier in a kind and friendly manner.
I approached his truck, and before I said anything, the man apologized. I took his hand, thanked him, smiled, and wished him a nice day. He looked happy. I was happy, too—and free because I had obeyed the guidance from my Master, Christ Jesus. The careless driving has not occurred again, and my flowers and I are at peace! I attribute this harmonious resolution to prayer and the clearer view I had gained of my fellow man as God’s child.
I needed to take seriously Christ Jesus’ teachings on loving our neighbor.
Experiencing peace and unity in our daily affairs is not an unrealistic expectation. The real solution to discordant situations is always found by conforming to the divine standard brought out by Jesus in his teachings, among which was, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). When confronted with discord of any kind, Jesus restored harmony through his clear perception of God as the only creator and of man’s true nature as expressing the divine perfection. In any inharmonious situation, there’s no better starting point than acknowledging this truth. Jesus’ teachings, including his Sermon on the Mount, are based on this fundamental understanding of God and man.
In situations where two or more people are pitted against each other, what often needs to be addressed is the belief that there are many minds—many conflicting personal egos. Christian Science explains that in reality, there is only one infinite God, the source of all intelligence and wisdom, the one Mind; and man, as the spiritual image and likeness of God, reflects this one divine Mind. A clear concept of God as the only governing Mind, and of man as Mind’s expression, is a powerful basis from which to pray, not only to restore harmony when needed, but also to prevent a discordant situation from developing.
When we realize, acknowledge, and hold in prayer the fact that the divine Mind alone is governing and loving everyone involved, hostility is defused. Lasting peace comes not on the shaky basis of mere human agreement or appeasement, but through understanding that the law of God—His law of harmony—is in operation. Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded; whereas a belief in many ruling minds hinders man’s normal drift towards the one Mind, one God, and leads human thought into opposite channels where selfishness reigns” (p. 205).
Experiencing peace and unity in our daily affairs is not an unrealistic expectation.
It may not always be easy to separate unloving, sometimes irresponsible, behavior from our perception of one another. But it can be done. All of us can, through an understanding of the truth of God and man, dissociate negative qualities from the true, spiritual nature of those with whom we come in contact, knowing that such qualities are not included in anyone’s genuine, God-created selfhood. But when doing this, we need to realize we are not condoning negative traits and actions; we are facilitating their destruction.
Ultimately, loving others isn’t something we choose to do only at special times or when we feel like it. The Prince of Peace expected his followers to express the divine nature day in and day out. When we imbibe and live the same spirit of love Jesus expressed, the results are incredibly fruitful. And however feeble may seem our attempts to live as Jesus taught us to live, God will support our efforts until we find ourselves consistently expressing, in some degree, that Christ-love we all so much need to give and receive. And it’s comforting to realize that because our real being is the reflection of ever-present, unlimited divine Love, it is natural for each one of us to manifest this practically through expressing warmth, compassion, forgiveness, and love.
The enemy to our peace of mind and happiness is never another individual. It is always our belief that someone can exist who is not God’s wholly spiritual child. In her article “Love your enemies,” Mrs. Eddy asks: “Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation?
“Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception? What is it that harms you? Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good,—that blesses infinitely one and all?” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 8).
Once we see that the enemy to harmony is really the temptation to react to what we perceive as evil, we are less likely to be impressed by it. Instead of adding more mental turmoil to an atmosphere already supercharged with it, we can choose to respond with love rather than resentment and indignation. When we lift thought to the unchanging fact of God’s allness and the control divine Love holds over all its ideas, we see what’s really going on—the one Mind, God, expressing His perpetually loving nature through all His ideas without a single exception.
However challenging our relationships may seem at times, we all must learn what it means to truly love our neighbor. This task is made easier as we see others as the children of God, without exception. The Science of Christ enables us to do this. This Science shows us how to be peacemakers, blessing those around us, and furthering our own spiritual progress as well.