One of the world's fundamental needs is for harmony. Whether in a family, a factory, an office, or a world, people need and often yearn to get along better with one another.
One of the great obstacles to harmony is pride. Of course, pride can refer to one's sense of dignity and to self-respect. But when the Bible says that ''by pride cometh contention,'' n1 it is referring to a bad form of pride that expresses itself as conceit, as an attitude of superiority with regard to such things as our talents, wealth, physical strength or beauty, intelligence, and even race. When we have this kind of attitude, others often feel uncomfortable around us. They may feel pushed, pressured, judged, even subtly or openly dominated. Discord and friction sometimes result. We may blame others, but we ourselves are often largely at fault.
n1 Proverbs 13:10.
Sooner or later, however, everyone comes to the point of deeply yearning to be free of strife and discord and is willing to challenge the false pride that seems to cause it all. And there is a way to be free. We can pray to God and be healed. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes , ''When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone, - but more grace, obedience, and love.'' n2
n2 Miscellaneous Writings, m p. 127.
To pray means to turn our thoughts to God in a selfless desire to express Him better. God is infinite good, and man is His perfect spiritual creation, as the Scriptures clearly imply. Because God is infinitely unique, the one infinite good, His precious offspring is unique and individual, too, and reflects Him in a special, individual way throughout eternity.
This truth of perfect man in God's likeness is revealed by the eternal Christ , God's healing message blessing humanity, which Jesus taught and unwaveringly lived. As we meekly yield to the truth of God and man, lovely changes begin to take place in our thoughts and lives. We get a clearer view of individual man as God's unique expression and are less convinced of mortality. Like a child who is filled with a surge of joy when he suddenly realizes the shadow in the corner is not a menacing creature, we gain a joyous glimpse of the fact that the mortal being with false pride is not our actual selfhood, because never made by God. The egotism that often seems to arise out of a wholesome desire to be someone special fades as we see that man already is special as God's individual reflection.
Waking to the true nature of man, we also become more aware of human short-comings and feel a deep desire for self-correction and a relief that we know it is possible. We feel more compassion for others and express more grace, patience, and gentle humor in our dealings with them. We're more aware and appreciative of their goodness and individuality.
Changes like these must have taken place in the deepest thoughts and motives of the man Saul in the New Testament. Filled with the arrogance of self-right-eousness, he persecuted the early Christians. But one day he caught such a brilliant glimpse of the Christ, Truth, that his character was transformed, his life mission was purified, and his relations with others who also loved God were greatly improved. n3
n3 See Acts 9:1-20.
Similar changes can come to all of us. If any of us seems to lack humility and to suffer the consequences of conflict, we are not helpless victims of pride any more than Saul was. We are not trapped by heredity or environment or theological beliefs into blighted characters and bruised lives. The love of God is here to help us all through Christ. We can so prayerfully declare man to be the perfect child of God and deny mortality that these facts more and more appear in our hearts and therefore in our lives. There is no icy state of egotism and fear that is so cold or old or deep and hard that the warm and gentle sunlight of Christ, Truth, cannot reach and melt it. Through God's grace and love, we all can demonstrate increasing humility, and through it, the harmony that so many yearn for. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Peter 5:6, 7