IT'S natural to want to remove opposition to our progress. But recent headlines discussing an attempt to eliminate a competitor from a skating competition by injuring her have made me ask myself if it's really other people who stop us from succeeding! Many athletes feel their fiercest opponent is not their competition, but themselves. This conviction hints at the spiritual fact that the way to remove opposition is to understand that nothing can take away our God-given ability.
The master Christian, Christ Jesus, faced substantial opposition throughout his ministry. Yet, we find no teaching of his to suggest he ever advocated using violence to overthrow tyrants or destroy enemies. What Jesus did teach, and urged his followers to do, was, as Matthew's Gospel tells us: ``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'' (5:44). There is no more practical way permanently to remove evil from your life than through loving your enemies. Indeed, the power of spiritually based love can literally transform enemies into friends.
The Bible speaks of God creating a perfect universe and man--the spiritual identity of each of us--His image and likeness. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, accepted God's perfect creation as the reality of life. God, infinite good, has to be the only creator and because this creation has one source, divine Spirit, it can only be spiritual. As God's creation, then, each of us must be spiritual and good. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy tells us, ``A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive'' (p. 463).
God is wholly good. And reasoning from the spiritual reality of one perfect, good God and His creation destroys discord-- permanently. I once applied this prayerful reasoning to a tough experience. I had a political opponent who was a fierce competitor during an election campaign. One day I witnessed this person pulling down an eye-catching poster I had erected. I was outraged. I telephoned a close friend and began describing what had happened. This woman relies, as I normally do, on spiritual solutions for healing. So, rather than fuel my anger by commiserating with me, she firmly told me I must love this person and forgive the action I had just witnessed.
I began to calm down and think in terms of finding a permanent solution. I could see that if I adopted destructive methods, my candidacy and what I stood for would be no better than everyday ``politics as usual'' in its worst form.
I did put the poster back. But what I did next was to affirm that God loved both me and my opponent. We were both His children. And removing what was offensive meant removing the idea that she, or anyone else, could undermine my ability to express God. God alone was in control of us both. And His disposal of events is always just. I told no one else of the incident and endeavored to love my opponent in my thoughts and acts. I am grateful to say that I was elected. But so was my opponent, as there were three positions to fill. We were able to work together in a way that greatly benefited our constituents.
Loving our enemies really does work! So when confronted by enemies, let's love them; let's attack and destroy our own belief in a power for evil with the knowledge that there is only one God, good, who created us all. And that we, His children, are governed by Him!