HATRED, jealousy, envy, are destructive not only to individuals, where they lead to broken marriages and friendships, but to communities and nations, where violence, clashing cultures, broken treaties, and even war may be the results.
It may seem that once divisions occur--whether between husbands and wives or between ethnic factions within a nation --there's no way to mend the split. But there is a way to heal such rifts. It involves turning back to what man actually is as the child of a divine Father, God. We are all truly one family because God, divine Mind, has created man--our genuine spiritual selfhood. And the conflicts that would fragment mankind were never part of man's Godlike nature.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. God, good, maintains His image and likeness, man, as He created him: spiritual and good.
Man's relationship to God is harmonious, loving, peaceful. It's our understanding of this relationship that helps heal discordant relationships. Trusting God and understanding Him more clearly as the Father-Mother of all helps us recognize God's man as God-made and God-loved.
Prayer is what helps us to understand our own relationship to God better. And prayer establishes forgiveness rather than anger. It opens the doors of patience and mutual understanding that anger and hatred would shut. Gradually, we find new ways to care for others, allowing forgiveness and respect to heal the divisions between individuals. The point here isn't to change "the other fellow but to change ourselves--to bring our own lives more closely into obedience to God.
A friend of mine was recently in a heated argument with a member of the family. Afterward I reminded him of the good that man naturally reflects from God. But he bluntly and firmly said, "She's so unlovable! We talked some more and finally agreed that we'd both make an effort to see more of the good, lovely qualities that are man's true identity. This isn't a way just to gloss over disagreements. Seeing man's God-given goodness as our own individual heritage helps us to appreciate more the good qualities
in others. No matter how awful the disagreement is--or what it is about--God's goodness is always present to bring reconciliation and healing. Both of them had to give a little, but the rift between my friend and his sister was soon resolved.
Christ Jesus showed us through example how to truly forgive our enemies. He constantly proved the power of God-inspired love to bring healing. He refused to get bogged down in the turmoil, hatred, and material-mindedness that seemed to confront him. By being loving, caring, and forgiving he was able to bring healing to seemingly impossible situations.
Christ Jesus' clear teachings enlighten us, as when we read his words in Matthew's Gospel, "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. It may not always be the easiest thing we do to love our enemies and those who may deliberately be trying to harm us. But the more we do it, the more natural it is for us. Through following Jesus'
example we can learn how to love, bless, do good, and pray for the healing we--and our world--need.