WE once placed the highest bid on a piece of property that was offered for sale because of delinquent taxes. A few days after we acquired the property, a neighbor telephoned us, bemoaning the fact that the property had been his, and he felt it should have been kept with his estate. He offered to give us a deed on another tract of land in exchange. We thought it over for a few days, and since he was our neighbor and friend, we decided to accept his proposition. For many years we enjoyed hiking on the property and using the wood for our fireplace. Then we noticed that this area was being developed. So we decided to have the land surveyed as preparation for selling it. To our dismay, the surveyor came back to us with the report that the deed was defective, in as much as one of the boundaries was not to be found. When we spoke to our neighbor about this, he hung up the telephone and refused further calls.
At first we felt hurt and indignant at being so badly treated when our motive from the very beginning had been only to help the neighbor. But we didn't leave the matter there. We knew that the hurt and indignation were not friends to be coddled but foes. They didn't originate in God, so they had no genuine, God-sustained value or basis. God, we knew, was the only real cause, the one supreme, omnipresent lawmaker.
Certainly Christ Jesus' life and teachings turn us away from resentment and toward forgiveness and compassion. This doesn't suggest that we should naively ignore evil but rather that we should place our trust in God and strive to see something of man's actual, spiritual selfhood, which is sinless.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Immortals, or God's children in divine Science, are one harmonious family; but mortals, or the `children of men' in material sense, are discordant and ofttimes false brethren.''1
We decided we would strive to understand that in reality we were all immortals -- everyone involved, including the neighbor. As such, he and we actually lived in God's spiritual universe, where all are loving and just.
Did that mean, I asked myself, that I had to love a dishonest, unjust man? That question alone pointed me to a deeper requirement. What I had to do was to love the neighbor spiritually, reflecting God's love. I had to love the reality of his being as God's immortal likeness. I could do that in a measure, anyway. After all, God had created him to express all the perfect qualities of spiritual goodness, including integrity.
My husband and I knew that such a correct sense of God and His creation would bring blessing for everyone concerned. Throughout the experience we never responded in kind to rudeness, for we knew we must be above the error, not on the same level. We must be spiritually-minded in order to see healing of the situation. We must reflect true justice, which is a quality of God. And this justice is divine, not human, for God is Spirit. The simple words of the Psalmist showed the need to give the whole problem up to God: ``The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.''2
After several weeks of persistant prayer, the surveyor telephoned and said he had thought of a way to resolve things. He had found a boundary. The only catch was, we would have to get the neighbor to sign a new deed. He thought that was very iffy. But we knew our prayers were answered and that God could move a mountain if that would meet the human need.
Much to the surveyor's and lawyer's astonishment, the neighbor did sign a new deed. Best of all, he remained our friend. He even said he was sorry. And the land sold quickly.
Justice is proceeding from God, all-acting divine Principle. It is here because God is here. And it is available to operate on behalf of everyone who seeks it.
1Science and Health, p. 444. 2Psalms 24:1.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee?...Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne. Psalms 89:8,14