PEACE on earth begins with peace in the individual, which makes each of us responsible for contributing to world peace. The practice of taking potshots at oneself, bombarding oneself with criticism, doesn't promote peace within. It is a type of warfare that can result in wounds of discouragement and despair. ``A discontented, discordant mortal is no more a man than discord is music,''1 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
If we love God, the creator, we love His creation, including ourselves. What is this self? Our real selfhood isn't a mortal, either contented or discontented. It's God's immortal likeness, expressing the fullness of the divine nature.
Longing to be like someone else, yearning to have what someone else has, robs us of our peace and clouds our vision of the good at hand. It clouds our vision of who we really are. And conversely, appreciating and valuing our own special individuality is a step toward peace and contentment.
Sometimes it requires a battle, a mighty mental struggle, before we can be at peace with ourselves. Sin must be recognized and progressively overcome. Mrs. Eddy gives an encouraging word to the struggler: ``Be of good cheer; the warfare with one's self is grand; it gives one plenty of employment, and the divine Principle worketh with you,--and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory.''2
Being at peace with oneself may require forgiving oneself for mistakes of the past. It may demand relinquishment of fears about the future. And it may involve a conscious effort to enjoy the now, the current good. The Old Testament Preacher declared, ``That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.''3 To realize that all the good that comes from God exists now, and eternally, helps eliminate those meaningless mental meanderings through the labyrinths of time that tend to take away our joy and peace.
We need to maintain our peace and not let it slip from our grasp at the slightest provocation. This becomes more natural as we realize who we really are and how much God loves us. God is Love itself, and He loves us, no matter what. Man, as His image and likeness, is therefore loving and loves what God creates, without exception. This doesn't mean we're to love evil or to ignore it but that we're to realize and love the true identity of everyone.
This ability to love ourselves and others is essential to peace. How can one maintain a feeling of calm if he neither loves nor feels loved? The command ``Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself''4 implies that ultimately, neither can be slighted in the scale of love. To be at peace with ourselves, we need also to be at peace with our neighbor, a peace springing from obedience to the law of divine Love. The Psalmist declared, ``Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.''5
The promise of Christ Jesus ``Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you''6 indicates that his followers today can come to feel that same peace. To the degree that we express the Christly spirit of love, we all can be at peace with God, with our fellow beings, and with ourselves.
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 305. 2Miscellaneous Writings, p. 118. 3Ecclesiastes 3:15. 4Matthew 19:19. 5Psalms 119:165. 6John 14:27. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness Have I drawn thee. Jeremiah 31:3