During her first term at school my daughter came home one day and told me all about an ''awful'' big girl. After listening to a vivid account of bullying, nastiness, cheating, and lying, I asked my daughter how she knew all this. ''The other girls told me,'' she replied.
Later an opportunity came when she was willing to talk constructively about the situation. I asked if the girl in question had been unkind to her. ''No,'' she replied, and then she told me that actually this girl had helped her when she fell. And another time she and a friend had had a good game with this older girl. We then talked about the qualities of kindness and helpfulness expressed by the girl, and I explained how important it is not to listen to or be impressed by the gossip we hear about other people. It is often quite simply a lie. We finished the discussion by agreeing that the best thing to do was to try as much as possible to know what God knows about our friends and everyone we meet. We affirmed that God knows man as He created him, as His perfect spiritual offspring, expressing His purity, love, wisdom, and goodness continually.
There has been no more reference to the allegations, and when we have met this older girl she has shown nothing but friendliness.
This small playground incident took place at a time of great national unease and turmoil over my country's relations with another nation. It brought home very clearly to me that the problem of one country's distrust, disapproval, or dislike of another country is an extension of individual attitudes and of how we respond to one another. I realized that we can each contribute to solving difficulties of wider scope by making sure our individual contact with all whom we meet is firmly established on the right basis. The healing of hatred, fear, contempt, has to start in our own thought and experience.
A helpful first step is to refuse to be impressed by or to take part in unkind comments or malicious gossip about other people. This is not to ignore evil but to refuse to accept as true a mortal concept of man - a concept that sees others as at best a mixture of good and bad. Christ Jesus warned against the evil of judging from a material standpoint. On one occasion he said: ''Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.'' n1 If we accept the lie about our fellowman, we're really accepting it about ourselves as well, because we're including it in our concept of man.
n1 John 8:15, 16.
In facing up to evil we can effectively and confidently deny the false, material view of man. An inspired perception of the Bible reveals quite clearly his actual, spiritual nature as the complete and perfect image of God, our Father. This true concept was the very foundation of Jesus' healing works, and it is what God sees and knows of each one of us.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, had a clear vision of the true nature of man and of his permanent unity with God, the only real source and creator. She writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''Material personality is not realism; it is not the reflection or likeness of Spirit, the perfect God.'' She continues further on in the same paragraph: ''According to divine Science, man is in a degree as perfect as the Mind that forms him. The truth of being makes man harmonious and immortal, while error is mortal and discordant.'' n2
n2 Science and Health, p. 337.
Another step in turning away from the lie is actively to look for and recognize the good, Godlike qualities an individual expresses and magnify them. We can discern these qualities in ourselves too. It is necessary within our own thought both to silence the clamor of human opinion and gossip and to specifically, persistently glorify the Christliness of those we meet. Our efforts are supported by our desire to understand more fully the true nature of man.
We can enjoy pondering the wonderful variety and goodness of God's qualities and claim these as man's birthright. This is what is true and real. This is what God knows. And this view heals. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteousness judgement. John 7:24