How to Judge Rightly

`BUT she's not doing her job!'' Perhaps you have said those words or have heard a friend say them. It can be irritating, to say the least, when people don't seem to be doing what we think is important or are not responsive to our needs.

A friend of mine was in that situation some time ago. He was working with an individual who didn't seem responsive or even to be paying attention to the work. As a result, my friend felt he was carrying the full responsibility alone. He began to feel quite resentful.

Since my friend is a Christian Scientist, he turned to God in prayer. He wanted to be able to see himself and his co-worker as they really are--the children of a totally good God. But every time he tried to pray, it seemed as though all he could do was be angry at his colleague! Finally, one night as he was leaving work and alternating between prayer and complaint in his thoughts, he got an answer he didn't expect. It came in the form of a statement of Christ Jesus' as reported in John's Gospel.

At the time, Peter had just finished speaking with Jesus, who had asked him to affirm his love for the spiritual truth that the Master represented. Peter had done this, but then--seeing another disciple--he had wanted to know about this man's future. Jesus replied, ``What is that to thee? follow thou me'' (21:22).

As a Christian, my friend knew that there was a message there for him, too, because Jesus had declared that all who wished to follow him should obey his teachings. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes this point very explicitly in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She says, ``All must sooner or later plant themselves in Christ, the true idea of God'' (p. 54).

My friend suddenly realized that his only real concern should be to make sure that he was following God's direction and trusting God as Jesus had. The Master declared during his Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew's Gospel: ``Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged'' (7:1, 2).

This made clear that my friend ought not to be focusing his thoughts on judging what his fellow worker was or was not doing. Instead, he should be sure that his own consciousness was pure and filled with loving, truthful ideas. He looked at the quality of his thoughts about this person, and he realized that he had plenty of room for improvement!

As he prayed, he found himself feeling more compassion for his co-worker. Before long, he learned that this individual was also doing a substantial amount of extra work, something he had not been fully aware of before. Their working relationship changed and became more mutually helpful.

Of course, there are times when a colleague or friend is doing something that is wrong and needs to be corrected. Yet the same approach as the one my friend took will help us resolve the situation. First, we can pray to recognize that in truth man is spiritual, the idea, or expression, of God. This is the actual nature of you, me, and everyone. It is normal for us as spiritual ideas of God, or Mind, to express love, joy, peace, intelligence, honesty, purity, and goodness. These qualities not only define our being; they are our being! And if a co-worker is hateful or mean, we can pray to express and to see the presence of love. If he or she is not always truthful or honest, we can affirm in our prayers that man is the idea of divine Principle, and therefore is naturally obedient to divine law, the law of good. We can proceed along these lines no matter what the specific problem happens to be.

As we pray in this way, we really are judging rightly. We are recognizing and affirming that God is omnipresent and that He is governing the situation. Such love-based action is effective because our focus is on finding a resolution that comes closer to God's plan for us and for the other person. That kind of judgment brings us peace, even in difficult situations, and it helps others, too.

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