Bringing light to difficult conversations
I had to go past a group of five protesters on the sidewalk on my way home. They were aggressively protesting an issue I felt strongly about.
I started to pray. My prayer was to reach a higher, spiritual understanding of those involved—to drop any negative narrative and see more healing possibilities to be and do good.
It came to me to talk with one of the leaders of the protest. This started a most interesting conversation. I shared with him some exchanges I’d had with a member of their group that I’d found helpful. Surprised, the leader also shared what he understood of the opposing side. We were able to find not only common ground but some higher ground as we both acknowledged we were both striving for greater dignity and care for all people.
Walking away, I realized that a willingness to see the nobility and goodness of others opens the door for them to see that same thing in you. Daryl Davis, a Black blues musician who reaches out to befriend members of hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan through thoughtful discussions that change hearts, said in an interview with NPR, “If you spend five minutes with your worst enemy . . . you will find that you both have something in common. . . . I didn’t convert anybody. They saw the light and converted themselves.”
Finding common ground is one thing, but finding one another on higher ground sustains reform and makes practical a more buoyant and spiritual peace.
Finding common ground is one thing, but finding one another on higher ground sustains reform and makes practical a more buoyant and spiritual peace. More than being against something, we can find a sense of unity in the spiritual reality that we are all innately for something: the goodness and light that come from God, the omnipotent Love and intelligent Life that created and sustains us all.
This divine light is truly universal. And there’s a biblical basis for seeing ourselves and others as expressions of God’s light. The book of First John says, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1:5). And as children of God, our whole being and identity are full of light—we all reflect that same light, in unique ways. As Ephesians explains, “Now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (5:8).
There is healing, transformative power in the light of divine Love. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “Love giveth to the least spiritual idea might, immortality, and goodness, which shine through all as the blossom shines through the bud” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 518). Starting from this humble and right idea is like a spark that can open the door for more good to be expressed.
There is healing, transformative power in the light of divine Love.
Seeing others as children of divine light—especially those who oppose what we may feel are our enlightened views—may be a struggle. But an expectation of bearing witness to the spiritual good in others means being willing to surrender human agendas in favor of the divine view; to see this divine light and influence present everywhere; and to let that goodness, rather than anger, impel how we interact with others.
On a deeply spiritual basis, we are all children of light, connected to divine Love and to one another—now. Divine Love is reflected in our love for one another. Because this is true for everyone, our approach to conversations can start with a confident sense of everyone’s place and value in the universe, and a humble desire to learn and grow together. And we’ll find with growing consistency that the ways to bridge any divide are at hand.
Originally published in The Christian Science Monitor’s Christian Science Perspective column.