One of the most precious institutions in society is the family. But families are not always as happy as they might be. Husbands, wives, and children too often seem pitted against, rather than in harmony with, one another.
None of us likes to live in discord. It's natural for the human heart to long for harmony and to work to find it. What work can we do? We can always endeavor to be kind and thoughtful and patient. These qualities tend to quiet tempers and to give one a wise perspective and compassion for another's point of view. But if these efforts aren't backed by divine direction or by some glimpse of man as God actually made him, they may seem more strained than natural and may get another's hackles up rather than quiet his rage. They can even invite another to try to take unfair advantage of us.
It is usually best, then, to pray first and let any further actions follow as a result of the inspiration of that prayer, instead of first taking what may seem to human reasoning to be a wise action. We can save ourselves and others a lot of heartache by consulting God first.
What form does such prayer take? On first thought we might believe we should pray for the person who seems so unreasonable or angry. And indeed he may need more than a little help. But on second thought we may recognize that the adage ''Charity begins at home'' holds some wise counsel. In praying for ourselves we can feel God's tender, healing presence, which will surely replace fear, pride, and resentment in our thought with Christly love and affection and humility. And this does have a healing effect in family disputes or in the resolving of any conflict.
Just as a building always needs a solid foundation, our prayer always needs to have a solid basis of absolute spiritual truth - the truth of perfect God and perfect man. The creation of God, immortal Love, is perfect, as the Bible indicates, and we will increasingly see our world in that light as our thought yields to God's view and puts off the old, limited view of right and wrong mortals. What is needed is our humility before God, the one perfect Mind, not another's humiliation before us. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Immortal Mind, governing all, must be acknowledged as supreme in the physical realm, so-called, as well as in the spiritual.'' n1
n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 427.
As we pray this way, we're really loving our fellowman in obedience to Christ Jesus' teachings. ''A new commandment I give unto you,'' he said, ''That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.'' 2 Then, things happen. We are less and less impressed with our own and others' foibles. We are either lifted out of a sad situation, or it improves, or it no longer troubles us. Harmony, in any event, increases. And to a degree we understand that to God it was there all along.
n2 John 13:34.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. . . God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. . . If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. 1 John 4:11, 12, 16, 20, 21