Not who's right, but what's right

In today's world, conflict seems to be constant and inevitable. Whether in the domestic, corporate, national, or international arenas, opposed factions or interests contend with each other, sometimes bitterly. At times, wearied by incessant discord, we find ourselves saying, ''There must be a better way.'' There is.

Most conflicts are based on opposing opinions as to which party to the dispute is in the right. If we are to reduce the amount of conflict in our lives and in our world, we need to reverse this pattern of thought, to reject the concept of many opposing minds and turn entirely to the one Mind, to the supreme intelligence called God, in whom ''we live, and move, and have our being,'' n1 as St. Paul says. When we wholeheartedly seek to be guided by this one Mind, which is the very Principle of the universe, we'll see the appropriate solution, one that blesses all and restores harmony.

n1 Acts 17:28.

I had occasion to witness exactly this sort of resolution when I was called upon to mediate what appeared to be an irreconcilable conflict between two central groups in an institution of which I was a part. One group, the governing body, had, in accordance with their firmly established policy, made a negative decision about a person who was highly esteemed by the other group, his professional colleagues. Lines were sharply drawn, and the situation seemed at an impasse; yet the conflict would damage the institution if it persisted. And persist it did - neither side would give ground.

It was plain that if I were to play a constructive role in the situation, I must reject entirely the human picture of deep division, see beyond it to the truth of one Mind, and hold firmly to that truth. As I did this, it became increasingly clear that what needed to be healed was a belief that the situation was governed by many minds, or at least two opposing minds, and a stubborn insistence by each side that it alone was in the right.

I reasoned that harmony was a quality of the divine Mind, and that if Mind was infinite, there could be no room for discord. I saw that justice, as a quality of God, leaves no place for injustice, grievance, or self-righteousness. Finally I came to see that the key to the entire situation lay in a clearer sense of God, for as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, puts it, ''It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.'' n2

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 390.

During the ensuing week, at separate meetings of each group, I was led to comment that what all of us should be seeking to be shown was not who was right, but what was right. Several days later, a young member of the professional group who had been the angriest and most vehement of all, came to me. He showed me a thoughtfully worked out and carefully documented case, which established clearly that an affirmative decision about the person in question could be logically construed as entirely consistent with a special provision of the governing board's policy.

The board accepted this reasoning with relief, and the matter was resolved harmoniously. Later I asked the young man what had turned his thought away from anger to thoughtful and constructive action. ''It was what you said about what's right instead of who's right,'' he replied. An observer, who was unaware of this conversation and who was not himself a Christian Scientist, commented that in his view a healing had taken place.

What was healed, of course, was the human sense of separate and opposed minds , and what was revealed in its place, resolving conflict into harmony, was the one Mind - God - which unifies. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing . . . Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? I Peter 3:8, 9, 13

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