Resent or repent?

Suppose you've had a disagreement with a friend, a business associate, or a marriage partner. You're positive that the other individual has behaved in an unfair, unreasonable manner. And perhaps he has! So you may feel justified in your condemnation of him. But there is a better attitude - one that can lead to a resolution of differences in a manner that will bless both of you.

Christ Jesus illustrated the power of God's love to heal every type of human trouble - and this power is eternally present, perpetually active. It's present today to heal disagreements and quarrels through a better understanding of God's nature - and man's.

The Bible brings out the relationship of God and man as Father and son, creator and creation. Because of man's unity with God, our actual nature is loving; it expresses God, who is Love itself. This spiritual truth is an unshakable basis for resolving conflicts. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states, ''No power can withstand divine Love.'' n1

n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 224.

When asked what the greatest commandment in the law is, Christ Jesus replied: ''Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'' n2

n2 Matthew 22:37-39.

While a common attitude toward an unpleasant encounter is righteous indignation, we'll improve the situation much more rapidly and effectively if we follow that inspiring command of the Master. Perhaps you're thinking: ''But this person pulled a very low trick on me. I trusted him, and he betrayed my confidence.'' If this is the case, now is just the time to consider in prayer what the nature of that individual really is. Though appearances would often contradict Biblical truths, the spiritual fact remains that man - and that includes all of us - is the cherished offspring of God, who is infinite good, perfect Love. Since God, the Father, is good, his sons and daughters, who reflect Him, are also good.

The picture of an unkind, unfair mortal is false, a counterfeit of the true view of man. Therefore undesirable characteristics do not really belong to anyone. They're not the true nature of God's man. They're inherent in the false concept of a mind apart from God - the ''carnal mind,'' as the Bible puts it - capable of expressing evil. But if God is infinite and the only genuine creator, He is the one true Mind, and man reflects divine Mind.

So, even though the usual reaction to unkind words may be to resent them, we do have a better way, and that is to express more love - the forgiving, Christlike love that made Jesus' mission so effective. He who is sometimes called the Prince of Peace never recommended harsh replies. He said, ''Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.'' n3

n3 Luke 6:27, 28.

It's clear that resentment cannot resolve a problem or end an argument. If we're feeling resentful, we might consider the word ''repent.'' Sometimes we may be inclined to think: ''But I've done nothing I need to repent for. I'm not the one who's wrong.'' Even if this is true, the very fact that we feel resentful is cause for repentance! Resentment could be likened to an arrow shot from another's bow and returned with one's own barb on it.

A dictionary definition of ''repent'' includes the phrase: ''to change one's mind about something one has done or said.'' Consider how wonderful the results will be when we firmly refuse to resent an unkindness; when, instead of expressing anger and frustration, we change our mind and speak lovingly. Mrs. Eddy writes: ''In Christian Science, the law of Love rejoices the heart; and Love is Life and Truth. Whatever manifests aught else in its effects upon mankind, demonstrably is not Love.'' n4

n4 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 12.

Try applying this law of Love. You will find that it rejoices your heart, and a lengthy and unpleasant battle will be resolved in a rewarding way for everyone involved. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be ye kind one to another, tender- hearted, forgiving one another. Ephesians 4:32

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