Getting Along Better

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

When I needed to fulfill a college requirement and take a laboratory science course, I was attracted to my school's geology department. While the course involved a lot of hard work, I never took another subject that filled me with such a sense of discovery.

After a few months of geology, I saw the earth with new eyes. I was suddenly aware of why the planet is shaped the way it is. I'd see a rock sitting along the path and be able to identify its type and origin. At a highway rest stop where rock had been blasted in order to construct the road, I'd find parts of a trilobite or other fossil remains. I realized I had never actually looked at the earth before -- never realized how much was there to be seen.

I bring all this up because it provides a clue on how to get along with others. Everyone runs into difficult people. Sometimes we are in positions where we can't get away from them. Often people spend a lot of time complaining and griping about such situations. But at some point the question will usually come up: Is there any way to make things better?

The way we see things is the key to making things better. This involves spiritual vision. That's what we need in order to see what's true. Experience proves, the more we can see the spiritual nature of others, the more harmony we find in our relations with them.

Learning of God brings spiritual education, opening one's eyes far wider than any geological education does. A new view of the way we each relate to God becomes clear.

When Jesus Christ dined with Simon, a Pharisee, Simon couldn't understand why Jesus would allow a woman who was a known sinner to be so near to him (see Luke 7:36-50). But Jesus, unlike Simon, could see into her heart. He sensed a moral reform taking place in her, and he honored it.

The spiritual vision of Jesus went even further than that, often leading to healing and transformation. The Bible tells of an occasion when Jesus visited another man, a tax collector named Zacchaeus (see Luke 19:2-10). Apparently Zacchaeus pursued his work with unnecessary, and probably unethical, vigor. Yet while Jesus was with him, Zacchaeus went through a moral transformation that changed his life.

Christian Science, the Science underlying the healing that Jesus practiced, was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy much later, in 1866. It teaches that spiritual education lies in understanding God and in recognizing ourselves as the work of God. Many people see themselves as separate from God, with an origin and nature of their own. This leads to discord. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook of Christian Science written by Mrs. Eddy, says, "The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, -- perfect God and perfect man, -- as the basis of thought and demonstration" (p. 259).

Something happens when we begin to see someone as the work of God. If we are God's likeness, as the first chapter of Genesis says, then the nature of God constitutes our nature. The Bible speaks of the creator as a God of truth. It emphasizes His goodness. It speaks frequently of His wisdom. As God's likeness, we must include integrity, goodness, and intelligence. The Bible also promises that God is never absent from anyone. This means that our likeness to Him is true and constant.

As these spiritual truths sink in, we begin to look at other people in a new way. We may have thought of someone as incredibly selfish or hostile or mean-spirited. But our advancing spiritual education causes us to raise a protest. We begin to exclaim mentally that that can't be, because he or she is the work of God. This is the Christlike view of another that helps us know what has always been there. And this view can awaken what was perhaps that person's dormant sense of good, just as the perception of Jesus awakened Zacchaeus to express more integrity.

There is much more to this spiritual education than one article can touch on. But even the primary elements mentioned here can bring great improvements in your day-to-day dealings with others.

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