I was on the train on my way home from work and had ample time for negative, indignant thoughts about a co-worker who had given me a hard time because I wasn't getting his tapes transcribed fast enough. The work was taking longer because he didn't speak clearly or indicate where corrections were until it was too late. He wasn't willing to take suggestions either. A mental list of uncomplimentary adjectives directed at him was expanding.
Suddenly this thinking stopped short.
I had recently started reading the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm by Mary Baker Eddy, and I knew it didn't contain a definition of man that would support what I was visualizing. I had read far enough to know that such a man didn't, in truth, exist.
Christian Science teaches that man, described in the Bible as made in God's image and likeness, n1 is not actually a faulty, physical being, as the material senses report. He's really flawless, spiritual, the likeness of his Maker, divine Spirit. The strictly physical view is convincing, to say the least, to unawakened human thought. And it was my conviction until I came in contact with Christian Science and proved the practicality of a higher concept of man.
n1 See Genesis 1:26, 27.
Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''God is the parent Mind, and man is God's spiritual offspring.'' n2 The real man has a Godlike nature, the nature shown to us by Christ Jesus. He expresses the spiritual qualities of intelligence, love, joy, and strength.
n2 Sciences and Health,m p. 336.
Now, with these points in mind I found my attitude softening, and I had the desire to recall something positive and true about the man in the office. The next thought that came was that he was usually cheerful and had a buoyant sense of humor. Weren't those God-derived qualities? He was sincere, too; he really cared about his job. That was commendable. Besides that, he was never absent. Didn't he have a lot to offer? I was glad I knew him and looked forward to seeing him the next day.
We seemed like new people the following day and went on to a very cordial relationship. The work problem soon disappeared. I could understand what he was saying, and he was pleased with my work. Later, when he introduced his fiance to his co-workers, he gave me a hug and called me one of his best office pals.
Did the change in our situation come from merely exchanging a bad human opinion for a better one? No, it was the result of dropping a mortal concept, which is always misleading, and replacing it with spiritual facts. Because spiritual facts are true, they are provable in human lives. Mrs. Eddy writes: ''The spiritual reality is the scientific fact in all things. The spiritual fact , repeated in the action of man and the whole universe, is harmonious and is the ideal of Truth.'' n3
n3 Ibid.,m p. 207.
When I cut off the criticism aimed at my fellow worker, I glimpsed something of the real man, of my friend's true spiritual nature as well as my own. Neither of us, I realized, was actually mortal, and my genuine being as the loving, spiritual reflection of God couldn't be critical, any more than he, as God's offspring, could be impatient or unreasonable. Nit-picking, a habit of the false , carnal mind, never comes from God, the one divine Mind. Discerning these facts had a healing effect.
That people don't or can't change is a popular belief. In reality, God's man can't change -- he's the perfect spiritual image of his creator throughout eternity. But human character can change. It improves through prayer and Bible study that sharpen the spiritual sense we all have - the sense that enables us to perceive the truth of ourselves and others.
Paul says that we should ''put off . . . the old man'' and ''put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.'' n4 With the right intent, you and I can do it.
n4 Ephesians 4:22, 24.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. II Corinthians 3:18