Office lessons

In accordance with the goal of equal employment for women in a large organization, I had been promoted to a somewhat undefined job in an office of two dozen people. From the beginning, disapproval of and by my co-workers hunched on my desk every morning, and drove off harmony.

I decided on a human solution: I would not agree to, or originate, criticism, and I would see only the positive qualities of my co-workers. However, these good intentions did not lighten the situation. It was prayer by a Christian Science practitioner that opened my thought to genuine love, and I began to realize that God loves all His children. The necessity was not so much to force human love from within me as to realize that man reflects universal, divine Love.

It is important to see that in his true selfhood each of us reflects intelligence, ability, innocence, as the image of God. For me, realizing this was not easy. However, through prayer it became clearer to me how God sees His children. This prayer included halting in midthought the temptation to deprecate my fellow workers, and persisting in acknowledging that man is actually Godlike. I had to learn to look beyond the humanly good or bad person, the pretty person, the inefficient worker, to see the likeness of God. The more one sees spiritually, the more one is able to love, and to recognize God's approval of His creation.

Because God is good and infinite, evil qualities are baseless, and therefore have no right or power to frighten us. We need not entertain them but can dislodge them by seeing that they are not an actual part of ourselves or anyone else. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''In the Science of good, evil loses all place, person, and power.'' n1 As evil belongs to no one, we miss the mark by projecting faults and accusations on either ourselves or others.

n1 No and Yes, p. 24.

Humanly disassociating oneself from manipulative office (or school or home) politics is not enough. The added need is for Christlike compassion for others who are afraid, disassociation of oneself from resentful thoughts, and the realization that God loves all His children equally. ''Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren,'' n2 Peter wrote. Thus envy and distrust became inapplicable and vanish.

n2 I Peter 3:8.

I realized, through Christian Science, that malicious thoughts and motives are an impersonal lie about God's man. This enabled me to separate bad qualities from my concept of others. Also, I perceived that our own belief in evil will inherently accuse us if we let it - but that we can confront it through prayer. At that moment I knew that I would not be bothered again. The wrong thought had finally been confronted - and it was heard of no more.

It became clear that among the people in the office there had been a great fear of change, and my presence had been unsettling to some. This new insight led to natural compassion and gentleness; testy relationships healed quickly, and the atmosphere was cleared. Work was done in peace, and cooperation and coordination bloomed and have steadily continued. My co-workers heartily congratulated me upon my next promotion.

The power of a truth understood can bless all. While I was serving on a panel at an employees' meeting some time later, a sincere question about office envy was addressed to me. I was able lovingly, joyfully, to explain that there is a place for everyone - implying that neither envy nor indignation has business in an office, and that therefore one should trustingly concentrate on one's own work.

It is vital to take care what our eyes, ears, and feelings accept about those around us. Self-centered, indignant, fearful thoughts have to be summarily arrested and replaced by God's view of man as loving, intelligent, governed by divine Principle, and incapable of error. As we're persistent in this work, and express some measure of the compassionate authority that Christ Jesus showed, we'll gain dominion over the belief that evil qualities can fasten onto him/her/them/me. We will begin to know man as neither a difficult nor a sweet mortal, but as always the beloved, spiritual offspring of God. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Spirit itself beareth witness with our evil spirit, that we are the children of God Romans 8:16

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