At one time I spent several days and nights very frustrated about the discourtesy and dishonesty of some co-workers. This wasn't the first time I had permitted the faults of others to deprive me of happiness and peace.
In my praying to God for a resolution of the problem a simple but useful question came to thought: ''Whose business are you minding?'' To me this question seemed like a specific rebuke from God - a divine message putting me on the course toward healing.
I had been concentrating almost completely on the behavior of my co-workers, while giving only a smattering of attention to my own character and activity.
As I prayed, I remembered that my business is to respond fully to God, divine Love. My business is not to fight fire with fire; that is, I was not to be discourteous and dishonest to those who were acting this way. Rather, as a follower of Christ Jesus I knew that my business is to be kind and honest even to those who may have abandoned these qualities. My business is to live the qualities that God ceaselessly expresses in man. My business is not to react to the sins of others. This would be contributing to the problem rather than the healing.
Of course all this was much easier to think than it was to do. But waking to my responsibility to God was a crucial first step. This in turn led me to see that it was totally natural for me to respond to divine Love instead of being overwhelmed by human selfishness.
As I continued to pray, I recalled this command given by the Apostle Paul: ''Work out your own salvation . . . .'' n1 To me this meant that I was not fundamentally responsible for anyone's attitude but my own. Therefore I was wasting my time fretting and fuming over the faults of others.
n1 Phillippians 2:12.
This did not mean that I should be unconcerned with the welfare of my co-workers. Nor did it mean I was to overlook or hide from sin. Rather it meant that by diligently casting sin out of my own character I could bless my co-workers with an example of honesty and kindness.
Of course, these qualities are not personal possessions. Christian Science shows that all of God's offspring naturally express integrity and love. As we begin to identify ourselves as children of God, manifesting only His goodness, it becomes natural to see others as part of God's family. God has not given any of His children over to dishonesty or unkindness. I could pray to realize that God, not sin, governed me, and everyone else as well.
Seen in this light, minding my own business appeared to be a full-time job - one that couldn't help benefiting my co-workers.
Our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, stated, ''Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'' n2 Jesus doesn't indicate that we are to adjust or be responsible for someone else's light. We are to shine individually, and this shining glorifies God and blesses our fellowman.
n2 Matthew 5:16.
As I gave more and more prayerful attention to my shining - my own response to God - great peace and joy returned. A normal night's sleep was also welcomed.
Christian Science, in accord with Jesus' teachings, places great emphasis on the right and responsibility of each person to love God and his neighbor as himself. And this Science shows that each one of us has the God-given ability to express that love. One way it can be expressed is through humility, which doesn't meddle. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy , writes, ''Any exception to the old wholesome rule, 'Mind your own business,' is rare.'' n3 Tn3 Miscellanous Writings, p. 283.
And on another page she writes: ''If a criminal coax the unwary man to commit a crime, our laws punish the dupe as accessory to the fact. Each individual is responsible for himself.
''Evil is impotent to turn the righteous man from his uprightness.'' n4
n4 Ibid. P. 119.
None of us need be duped into minding others' affairs. We'll find great joy in realizing evil's impotence and God's omnipotence. The more we grasp this spiritual fact of life, the more we will be content to let God govern our lives - and leave the lives of others to His care. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Charity suffereth long, and is kind; . . . is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; . . . rejoiceth in the truth. I Corinthians 13:4-6