Refuge, not revenge
If you had asked me, I would have said, ''Oh, no, I have no desire for revenge. I don't want anything bad to happen to her.'' And I didn't.
But I was hurt. Deeply. She was my trusted friend. She had really betrayed my trust, and there was no excuse for the lie she told about me. No excuse.
But there had to be forgiveness anyway. I knew that. No matter how wronged I had been, an unforgiving attitude was seed for subtle revenge. Without a positive forgiveness, lurking resentment would haunt my feelings about my friend and nurture trouble.
I thought I had forgiven her. I really didn't wish her ill. But I hadn't healed my hurt either. It had been a hard and painful experience.
After a while a little growth appeared on my body - a hard and painful growth. I realized that nothing is forgiven unless it is forgotten and all latent pique flushed out. Resentment and revenge are two horns on the head of hurt. Hurt cannot exist alone. It always reacts. Hurt will hate, and hate will hurt.
I turned to God, divine Love, in prayer, honestly desiring to find refuge from resentment. Tenderly, the thought came, ''Leave her to heaven.'' I remembered that these words were from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Hamlet's mother, queen of Denmark, had married his father's murderer. The ghost of Hamlet's father stirred the young prince to take revenge on his slayer but not on her. ''Leave her to heaven,'' the ghost said.
I thought about this. What did it mean to me as a Christian Scientist? Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines ''kingdom of heaven'' as ''the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme.'' n1 And Christ Jesus clearly stated, ''The kingdom of God is within you.'' n2
n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 590.
n2 Luke 17:21.
In order to establish the reign of harmony in my relationship with my friend I had to awaken within my own feelings the atmosphere of Spirit where Soul, divine Love, is supreme. I had to realize that my friend was actually God's beloved spiritual offspring, the likeness of Love and Truth, not an emotional, spiteful mortal.
The hating or hated element in anyone's consciousness is not natural or a real element of his character. I had to realize that the need to hurt others was no more a part of my friend's real nature than her lie was true about me; that in reality the whole incident was a shadow with no real influence on our capacity to love.
I saw that we were not really two mortals misrelated by woefully inadequate understanding. Our actual relationship was in Love as God's children. Our true Mind, reflected by all of God's offspring, was the one God, one infinite Mind. In reality, then, her divine Mind loved me, and my divine Mind loved her. Any evidence of envy, hatred, and reaction was not being supported by the actual energy, law, and design of divine Love. Therefore the false evidence of discord could have no real effect on our relationship. We lived together in the kingdom of heaven, harmony, and the reign of Love was within each of us.
In one of her poems, Mrs. Eddy writes:
Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and
n3 Poems, p. 4.
I felt such a sense of freedom. I could see that divine Love is our heaven at hand. I could leave not only my friend to heaven but ''me, and mine, and all.''
As a result of this satisfying prayer our friendship was lifted to a wiser basis. Our Father-Mother Mind had given us both a sanctuary from hate and hurt, a refuge from revenge in the heaven of Love understood.
Because prayer heals thoroughly, it was natural to find that when the hard and painful thought dissolved, so did the little growth on my body. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Put on therefore . . . bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forebearing one another, and foregiving one another. Colossians 3:12, 13