HAVE you ever been incensed with the viewpoint expressed by a government official or a political candidate? Have you reacted with disgust or anger, resentment or fear? It's inevitable that we'll disagree with some of the views presented by political candidates. But we don't need to lose our ability to maintain peace of mind and good judgment.
How can we avoid being pulled down mentally, emotionally, or even physically? The Bible advises us to ``try the spirits,''1 and it tells us, ``Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.''2 Following this counsel, we can maintain our poise and not yield to the false sense that evil is more powerful than good, or even that there is some power apart from God.
If we do, however, get caught in a web of frustration or confusion, there is a way out. It's called prayer.
For example, while attending a political rally I found myself disgusted with a person's political views aired from the platform just before he gave an invocation. I realized he was endorsing the candidate's views, and both views differed radically from mine.
Discussing this with a friend the next day, I became quite vehement in denouncing the candidate's and the supporter's positions on certain issues. Within minutes of this discussion I was struck by severe pain. As it increased I asked the friend to help me in prayer. I mentioned that it felt like food poisoning.
Together we turned to God for a healing truth. Christ Jesus' words ``Judge not, that ye be not judged''3 came to me. My friend read me a passage from a book by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, who was an ardent student of the Bible and a steadfast follower of Christ Jesus. She asks, ``Who shall inherit the earth?'' And answers, ``The meek, who sit at the feet of Truth, bathing the human understanding with tears of repentance and washing it clean from the taints of self-righteousness, hypocrisy, envy, -- they shall inherit the earth, for `wisdom is justified of her children.'''4 As she read, the words ``self-righteousness'' and ``hypocrisy'' stood out, although it was the word ``taint'' (closely related to the thought of poisoning) that had prompted the investigation of the passage. Immediately I realized I had mentally, verbally, and bitterly attacked the two politicians. What self-righteousness!
Quickly I began to reverse my attitude. I prayed to discern more of man's true spiritual selfhood as God's child, regardless of how others' opinions might differ from my own or seem unreasonable. I was sure that was what Jesus had meant when he told his disciples to love their enemies. I did not change my position on the issues I felt were not right. But I realized I must detect wrong thoughts and ways (mine or theirs) as impersonal and impotent because God, good, is all-powerful and omnipresent. I affirmed that I could not fear evil or react to evil. As I meekly began yielding to the fact that God is in control of all and that the true government is upon His shoulders, the pain began to subside.
I continued in thoughtful prayer by acknowledging that God, the one cause and creator of all, is imparting His intelligence to all His offspring. I denied that God's man can be influenced erroneously, be mesmerized, confused, ignorant, resentful, or deceitful. I realized that the power of the healing Christ, Truth, is always with us, and gives us the ability to think and act in the right way. With the mental turmoil destroyed, I felt at peace, the body seconded the motion, and the pain disappeared altogether.
From that time on I have been able to consider all political views more calmly. I've found myself praying to God as Solomon did, for ``understanding to discern judgment.''5
We can all watch our thoughts, detecting evil's subtle attempt to mentally manipulate our own or another's thinking. Doing so, we won't be ignoring evil but rather heightening our alertness to it and putting ourselves in a position to counteract it more effectively through receptivity to the wisdom from the one divine Mind, God. Then we'll maintain our God-given purity and peace of mind, and make wise political decisions.
1I John 4:1. 2Romans 12:21. 3Matthew 7:1. 4The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 228. 5I Kings 3:11. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. Psalms 37:8