Prayer heals a difficult work situation
As part of a management cross-training exercise, a manager with no information technology (IT) experience had been rotated into a critical role in my IT department. His poor judgment was wreaking havoc with the software developers and the mainframe operations team. Overnight, our orderly, smoothly running IT department had become chaotic, angry, and frustrated. Time spent cleaning up the messes caused by his unwise decisions was time stolen from high-priority projects with looming deadlines.
My colleagues and I complained bitterly to each other for several weeks, and many looked to me for guidance, since I was a senior developer. As a student of Christian Science, I knew I had a choice to make. I could continue to join the crowd in condemning and criticizing this manager, or I could turn to God and work this out through prayer.
One day in my cubicle at work, my heart suddenly and sincerely cried out, “Oh, God, divine Love, show me how to love with genuine spiritual affection! Let me see this man as Your precious spiritual idea, able and competent! Let me talk with him lovingly and without condemnation. Lead me to the loving way to offer practical guidance and assistance. Father, let me bear witness to Your holy presence and power!”
The sincere yearning to spiritually love and bless—not curse, criticize, or condemn—was the turning point for me. I was starting to see that for weeks I had been accepting the reality of a false picture: an unreasonable human personality clashing with other human personalities. Accepting the situation as real and set in stone would mean that there was no way out of the conflict. But through the study of Christian Science, I had learned of a higher starting point: God, divine Spirit, made us in His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27). So, the true individuality of each person must be loving, loved, and lovable, because our Maker is divine Love. We must be honest, forthright, and sincere because we reflect divine Truth, God.
In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy offers this counsel: “We ought to weary of the fleeting and false and to cherish nothing which hinders our highest selfhood” (p. 68). In the nitty-gritty of daily life with its ups and downs, I desired to live my “highest selfhood”—to truly live and love more consistently with what I am as a child of God, divine Love. I wanted to be cleansed of wrong thinking and acting, freed from anger and resentment, in order to bear grateful witness to the presence and power of God, infinite good, blessing and loving all of His children.
This approach certainly wasn’t a quick fix. I had to discipline my thinking to continually turn away from the discordant workplace scene and affirm the presence of harmony, based on the fact that God’s goodness is ever present and we are each one with God. Each temptation to criticize and condemn this manager was met with the firm mental protest that everyone is a child of God and therefore able, competent, and receptive to good. From this point on, when colleagues wanted to vent about the difficult situation, instead of joining in, I either stepped away or changed the subject, while silently denying the belief of many conflicting minds and wills and affirming the presence of the harmonious government of the one divine Mind, God, right where we were.
I felt uplifted by this line of prayerful thinking. Over several weeks, the anger, resentment, and ill will I’d been feeling very naturally dissipated and were gradually replaced by genuine spiritual affection. I learned to love even an “enemy” or opponent by seeing him as a child of God instead of a flawed mortal. And I was expressing my real spiritual selfhood as a child of God, too.
A few weeks later, this manager received loud negative feedback on his performance from an angry colleague. Afterward, an opportunity unexpectedly arose for a few of us to speak privately with the manager—without condemnation. We offered him practical guidance and technical assistance, and he accepted. Gradually, things improved and order was restored. To everyone’s surprise, a mutual and lasting respect grew between our department and the manager.
Striving to live our “highest selfhood,” realizing everyone’s identity as a child of God, purifies and uplifts us, those around us, and all mankind.