WHEN FACING INJUSTICE, HOW CAN WE EXPECT A HEALING RESOLUTION?

INJUSTICE OCCURS IN VARIOUS FORMS. Who of us has not been passed over for some much-deserved opportunity? Or maybe you've been falsely accused by a family member. Perhaps you've worked tirelessly on a project, only to have it come under severe scrutiny and criticism by colleagues. Financial hardship is often undeserved and unjust. Situations like these can weigh heavily on the human heart, so that one cries out from the depths, feeling victimized, bitter, defeated.

There is no shortage of stories in the Bible about people who met with persecution and injustice. It can be heartening to revisit some of them. One of my favorites is the Old Testament story of Nehemiah, who was led by God to organize his people to rebuild the fortifying wall surrounding Jerusalem. As the project proceeded, some who opposed the work impugned Nehemiah's motives and slandered his character; others threatened to make false reports about him to the king. Yet he repeatedly declined to respond to their actions in self-defensive, angry ways.

It wasn't that Nehemiah did nothing about his opponents' threats and lies and their attempts to engage him. Through prayer, he remained convinced of God's power working on his behalf. This enabled him to avoid unnecessary and self-defeating human dramas and to eventually bring the project to completion. "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down," he replied to his adversaries, adding, "Why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" (Neh. 6:3) This statement of Nehemiah's hints at the resolve we all need—to hew to the God-given work of praying about an unjust situation and not give in to the "enemies" of bitterness, anger, and indignation.

Like Nehemiah, we can hold audience with God rather than with the carnal, or mortal, mind, which argues for various emotional responses. Of course this can seem difficult when we're being ridiculed or falsely accused. But perhaps the most poignant lesson of many of those Biblical accounts is that in the quietude of humble, deeply felt prayer, God's truth invariably breaks through. We are able to hear spiritually, or sense, what the Father is telling us of His self-enforcing rightness and all-power, and of our true spiritual stature as His expression, secure in His goodness, invulnerable to attack, forever loved.

As we feel the Father's love for us, we are better able to feel His love for others, and consequently to think less in terms of wanting certain individuals to receive their just deserts and more in terms of desiring Christ-healing for all concerned. Certainly the Father's will for all of us is freedom from the dark, oppressive elements of human nature.

I had an experience several years ago that proved this to me. I had just moved into a lovely townhouse. During the check-in process, the on-site manager assured me the basement was dry, so I felt confident giving it a fresh coat of paint, laying carpet, installing shelves, and even using a portion of the space to store some antique furniture.

Soon, fall arrived with its heavy rains, and to my surprise water streamed in through several places in the basement walls. I moved furniture and other items, and rolled back the carpet, but still had a good deal of cleanup each time this occurred.

I began working with the management company to find a solution. It soon became clear, however, that representatives of the company were using various ploys—including doing a lot of slipshod temporary repairs—to make it look as though they were addressing the problem. In fact, they were unwilling to spend the money necessary to replace the outside seal on the foundation wall, a seal that is applied during construction but wears off over time. In the absence of a new seal, plugging holes in the basement walls only forced water to break through other weak areas. So every time a repairman plugged one set of holes, new ones appeared the next time it rained.

At times there was standing water under the furnace unit. This was unsafe, and it violated city code. Twice, over the course of several months, city inspectors came out, expressed alarm about this, and contacted the management company. In order to avoid a citation, the company simply made further superficial repairs. One inspector told me the company had known about this water problem for several years and had apparently taken measures to mask evidence of it before I moved in.

The situation took a rather bizarre turn when a company representative falsely accused me of not paying the rent and then initiated eviction proceedings. The allegation was quickly disproved, but not without some temporary concern on my part.

During this time I was praying, as I have learned to do through my study of Christian Science, to maintain my spiritual focus. Understandable as it may have been to feel hurt and offended, even vengeful at times, I knew I needed to do all I could to resist these attitudes. Like advertising "hooks," such as slogans and catchy phrases that capture customers' attention and draw them in, strong negative emotions only serve to draw us in and focus our attention on the wrong that has been done.

One day as I was out walking, I began contemplating the fact that dark human experiences—with their seeming layers of complexity and numerous personalities, acting and reacting—are not the reality they appear to be. My prayer and study in recent months had been showing me that discord was not going on in the Father's kingdom, which Jesus said was at hand, to be discerned and experienced by the truly humble of heart. Now I felt God's tender, eternal Christ, which Jesus so perfectly expressed in his healing work, present in consciousness, allaying fear and strengthening my spiritual conviction. "This wrong is not real in a Christianly scientific sense, and it never has been," was the Christly assurance to my thought.

As I continued walking and listening for the Father's directives, the idea came that I needed to disengage mentally from the picture in front of me—as I would disengage from, or stop watching, a bad movie. This meant I must stop ruminating about the injustice of it all, stop strategizing about how to proceed, stop imagining clever things I might say. I realized that, as God's spiritual reflection, I could only actually be engaged with Him, with divine Truth and Love. Over the next few days I returned many times to this inspiration and strove to be obedient to it.

Then, in about two weeks, in the middle of winter—after management had said they would do no more—a contractor showed up with his crew and began work, digging down to the bottom of the foundation wall and replacing the seal. They were there a week, working in the cold and sometimes in snow. After all that had transpired, this was truly a remarkable turn of events! I called a supervisor with the management company and thanked him. He in turn expressed appreciation for my patience.

About six months later, when the whole experience seemed a fairly distant memory, I received a letter from the company saying I could forego the following month's rent because of the inconveninence I had experienced. I was very grateful, and deeply impressed at how these adjustments had followed the God-impelled change in my perspective.

WE ARE ABLE TO HEAR SPIRITUALLY, OR SENSE, WHAT THE FATHER IS TELLING US OF HIS SELF-ENFORCING RIGHTNESS AND ALL-POWER, AND OF OUR TRUE SPIRITUAL STATURE AS HIS EXPRESSION, SECURE IN HIS GOODNESS, INVULNERABLE TO ATTACK, FOREVER LOVED.

In her article "Love Your Enemies," Mary Baker Eddy discusses why it is that various forms of injustice "'work together for good to them that love God,'" as we are told in the Bible. "Because He has called His own," she explains, "armed them, equipped them, and furnished them defenses impregnable. ... The good cannot lose their God, their help in times of trouble. ... The best lesson of their lives is gained by crossing swords with temptation, with fear and the besetments of evil; insomuch as they thereby have tried their strength and proven it; insomuch as they have found their strength made perfect in weakness, and their fear is self-immolated" (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 10).

The paradox of Christian practice is that in meekness we are made strong. Although there may be times when we feel it is wise to speak up on our own behalf or to follow a particular course of action, still we are not personally responsible for a just resolution. If we'll persist in prayer, and in humbly learning needed spiritual lessons, we'll feel divine Love's presence with us, leading us through and out of unjust circumstances in ways that purify and elevate our own outlook and bless all concerned.

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