MY daughter and I hadn't been getting along. At one point she began yelling at me over a minor situation, and then left the house without doing something I had angrily told her to do.
Longing for a solution to resolve this conflict, I reached out to God, actually praying. I remembered some words from the Bible, from Luke: "To-day I must abide at thy house." The man who had spoken these words was Christ Jesus. A tax collector, Zacchus, had climbed up a tree to get a better look at Jesus as he walked by. The Bible says, "When Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house" (19:5). Zacchus gladly received him, and their meeting brought both renewal to Zacchus and salvation to his house.
What occurred to me was that I, too, could receive joy and peace into my house-my consciousness. I could experience the healing power of God, who is always present and who is Love. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote a book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The book says this: "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (p. 332).
As I thought about this, I began to feel God present with me. Then I recalled a passage from another book Mrs. Eddy wrote: "The Principle of all power is God, and God is Love. Whatever brings into human thought or action an element opposed to Love, is never requisite, never a necessity, and is not sanctioned by the law of God, the law of Love" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 278-279). This statement told me that an unloving reaction to unkindness is never required. So my initial reaction to my daughter had not been appropriate.
Continuing to pray, I felt a great tenderness for my daughter, whom I loved so much. Afterward I left a note on her bed: "From now on let's just show love for each other." Later that day I asked her to do something after she had read my note, and she readily agreed.
While a parent should not encourage disobedience, because it is not truly a loving thing to allow it, neither is reacting in anger or impatience right. The answer really lies in listening for God's direction by turning to the presence of God. God is the supreme, governing intelligence of all. Since there is only one God, there must be only one Mind. Understanding this counteracts the turmoil of conflicting individuals, each trying to control the other. God alone is in control of each of us, and each of us is inseparable from Him. It is in humbly insisting upon these facts-a type of prayer-that we're able to let go of preconceptions regarding how problems such as mine should be solved. This humility, coupled with a firm trust that God is an actual presence, a perfect governor, enables one to listen and to hear Him, and then to follow His leading. It is natural for us to know what is truly right to say or do in any given circumstance.
Since God controls us, our happiness is not dependent on another's words or actions but on Him. God's goodness and peace never vary, because He is the only Spirit. This fact means that the children He created cannot have angry or willful spirits. Each one of God's children is made in His image, according to the Bible, and so must really be wholly good. As we identify our friends and all the people of the world as having this inherent goodness, we will recognize more and more of it.
My daughter and I began resorting to the "love plan," which came to mean one doing a little kindness for the other instead of reacting in anger. We both have now come to turn to God in times of conflict. Even in more serious disagreements, appropriate solutions have resulted, helping us both.
God is always present, available to enlighten each consciousness and bless every home with peace. Like Zacchus, we can joyfully receive the messages of Jesus and follow him in this way. Then we'll experience salvation and grace in our homes, today.