Facing division? Side with God!

There is a joy-giving alternative to taking sides against one another.

Originally published online on November 17, 2022

Division, whether in a personal relationship or on a much larger scale, is unpleasant, to say the least. It is most often caused by the side-taking that arises (my side against yours) when we allow opinion and human reasoning to motivate us, and it never leads to a harmonious or mutually beneficial solution. Let’s face it, most of us have had experiences along these lines.

But there is a joy-giving alternative to taking sides against one another—one that has a unifying effect in the world, no matter how divisive the situation. As Christian Science teaches, it is to silently and steadfastly side with God, the One who holds us all in eternal union with Him and one another.

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Whenever a divisive issue comes up, I ask myself, “On which side am I fighting? The dividing side or the unifying side?” If you were to ask the same question, the answer may not just surprise you but cause you to take a 180-degree turn—in other words, to relinquish fallible opinions and human reasoning and trust that by siding with God we are being a healing influence. Christ Jesus taught that there is, in fact, no “side” to take but God’s, and he showed us how to do it.

Jesus loved God supremely; he lived his oneness with God in his spiritual identity as the Christ. He saw and loved man as the pure, perfect, spiritual reflection of God instead of a sinful or side-taking personality. 

“On which side am I fighting? The dividing side or the unifying side?”

One clear illustration of this is found in the Gospel of John, where we are told that a group of Hebrew religious leaders brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery and asked him if she should be stoned, in accordance with Moses’ law (see John 8:3–11). Rather than take sides and either condemn the woman to be stoned (violating Roman law) or recommend that she be released (violating Moses’ law), Jesus responded that he who had no sin could cast the first stone. Failing to meet that moral standard, the woman’s accusers all left. And after Jesus confirmed with the woman that no one had condemned her, he told her not to sin any more. Jesus had let God speak to the conscience of each individual, trusting that spiritual sense would guide them to think and act rightly. You might say he had sided with God. 

Jesus prayed for his followers that they, too, would side with God at all times—that they would love God supremely and live their oneness with God, in their true identity as the spiritual reflection of God. He prayed that they would love their neighbor and see them in their true light as God’s reflection, instead of as a sinful or side-taking human personality. 

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, referred lovingly to those who follow in Jesus’ footsteps as “Christ’s little ones.” She wrote, “Each of Christ’s little ones reflects the infinite One, and therefore is the seer’s declaration true, that ‘one on God’s side is a majority’ ” (Pulpit and Press, p. 4). 

Yes, when you and I side with God, we are siding with the majority—with the divine Mind that holds its creation in one harmonious whole. I know from experience that this is not always easy. It takes persistent prayer and watchfulness, as well as humble, sincere, unwavering, moment-by-moment obedience to God. That is why Jesus said, “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch” (Mark 13:37).

This kind of watching is joyful work! The work is burdensome only when we try to accomplish it through human will. Joy comes as we yield our will to God’s will, and love for God and man replaces opinionated self-concern. Then the unifying influence of divine Love, or God, is felt not only in our own lives but also in the receptive hearts of all upon whom our thoughts rest. 

Christ Jesus taught that there is, in fact, no “side” to take but God’s, and he showed us how to do it.

The divine Life, God, is never divided. God has only one side—infinite goodness, which includes no evil element. Therefore, man, the spiritual and perfect image of God, is never divided; he is not in possession of both good and bad qualities but is entirely good. The first words of Hymn 135 in the Christian Science Hymnal are, “I know no life divided, / O Lord of life, from Thee” (Richard Massie, translator). This is the mental stand we need to take moment by moment if we wish to promote unity in human affairs. 

To know no life divided from God is to not give reality to character traits that are unlike God, such as self-righteousness or self-justification. The human personality, supposedly a mixture of good and evil, is not the real identity of anyone. 

To bring to bear on a divisive situation the healing influence of the Christ—the power of divine Truth that Jesus so fully demonstrated—we start with ourselves. This can be a humbling realization and a struggle for any of us, as I well know. Through the years, I’ve had to hold to the inherent goodness of God’s children, including me, and continually guard against any thought that is unlike good, in order to promote healing in my family, church, community, and the world, and especially in my work as a Christian Science practitioner. This has often revealed the need to discard personal opinions and more diligently seek and do God’s will.

This purification of thought does bring healing. When we are willing to put aside whatever would obscure our or another’s true identity as divine Love’s reflection and see the spiritual reality, we are taking the right side, the unifying side. As we do this, and persist, we feel the presence of divine Love comforting and strengthening us. Others feel it, too, and there is healing. If we don’t see evidence of this right away, we must keep at it! Our sincere efforts will be rewarded. Our oneness with God, and the bond of unity in which divine Love holds man, will become evident at some time. The supposed division between people will disappear, and mankind will see that “one on God’s side is a majority.”

January 2, 2023

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