I was waiting in line before a checkout counter in a supermarket when I remembered I needed salad dressing. Since there were two people ahead of me, I felt I had time to get it without delaying anyone. When I returned, I found that a woman had pushed my cart aside and moved hers ahead of it. My reaction was quite different from what it might have been some time ago: I was delighted! It wasn't that I was happy someone had taken my place - but to explain my lack of annoyance I'll have to go back a little.
I had been having physical difficulties for some while. I had been praying as I had learned to do during my years of studying Christian Science - praying to know that I was made in the image and likeness of God, as stated in the first chapter of Genesis. I prayed to understand that I was the object of His love, the child of His tender care, and not, as commonly believed, a mortal, material personality subject to sin, disease, and decline. However, progress toward healing seemed very slow.
Experience had shown me that our state of thought is reflected in every aspect of our lives. So I searched my thought to see where it needed further correcting. Although I was generally considered easy to get along with, I realized that, especially in recent years, I was too sensitive, too easily upset. I was often annoyed by the endless repetition of commercials on television. Yet I knew that when I allowed irritation or resentment in my thinking I was, in effect, breaking the first commandment by bowing down to what the Apostle Paul referred to as ''the carnal mind.'' n1 This so-called mind is not really mind at all, for the Bible makes it clear that God is infinite, that He fills all space. God, then, is the one infinite Mind; so there can't in reality be room for another, limited mind.
n1 Romans 8:7.
I realized that it isn't always the big angers, the major wrongs, that are detrimental to our health and happiness. The Bible tells us of ''the little foxes, that spoil the vines.'' n2 Sometimes we tend to brush off what might seem a minor dispositional fault by saying, ''I'm just that way,'' or perhaps, ''It's not important.'' But anything that robs us of a sense of love, harmony, or peace is an error and should not be minimized or ignored. As we endeavor to reflect only Godlike thoughts--love, patience, joy--we express a greater sense of serenity. We are less disturbed by what others do or say.
n2 Song of Soloman 2:15.
To return to the supermarket: when I saw that someone had taken my place, I realized that I felt no annoyance and remained as tranquil as I had been before the incident. That's why I was delighted!--because I knew that I was making progress in overcoming a tendency to be disturbed by the actions of others.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''What is it that harms you? Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good,--that blesses infinitely one and all?'' n3
n3 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 8.
Someone might say, ''That's all very well, but no one should be allowed to get away with an unfair action.'' Yet even if we win an argument, if we have allowed ourselves to become angry or upset, have we really ''won''? The Bible makes it clear that no one really gets away with any wrong. Sooner or later wrong actions are punished and corrected by God's law of justice. Although we may sometimes err in our judgment, God never does.
Even Christ Jesus didn't take it upon himself to punish others. When he was not hospitably received at one village, Jesus rebuked the disciples' suggestion of retaliation. He simply went to another village. n4
n4 See Luke 9:51-56.
It isn't always easy to overcome resentment and self-justification, but the rewards for doing so are great, and sooner or later we'll all have to face up to this divine demand. To the extent that we realize man's actual, Godlike nature and pray to express only those thoughts that come from God, divine Love, we'll experience the harmony and peace that are our divine right. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23, 24