Must tempers fly when relatives visit? Does tension have to rule a home? Not at all. As children of God, our birthright is dominion. We are not, in reality, subject to bruised egos, hurt feelings, frustration, or fear.
When confronted with conflict in the home or elsewhere, we can turn to God in prayer, deeply realizing man's God-given freedom from discord. As we acknowledge God to be the actual head of each household, and affirm His loving control of every one of us, our relationships with others can only become more stable.
Even if just one person is praying, a whole family can be blessed. The Bible tells us, ''The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.'' n1
n1 James 5:16.
When there is discord, the temptation is to try to change others. But as we examine our own thoughts instead, and replace hurt feelings with genuine humility and pure, spiritual love, we receive the inspiration we need to get along better with those around us.
As we recognize that everyone's true selfhood is the offspring of God, we begin to see more of the true individuality of each family member. We find it easier to look beyond the human labels of parent, child, husband, wife, sibling, or in-law. We learn to see the eternal completeness and maturity of everyone we are dealing with. Affirming in prayer each person's God-given beauty and perfection, we become less critical of apparent shortcomings, for we know that what is spiritually true of man will ultimately be expressed in recognizable ways.
When we realize that the progress made by one individual does not have to be a threat to others, we are able to encourage others in their efforts to broaden their horizons and develop new abilities if they desire to do so.
Human relationships change, but man's relationship to God never does. Understanding this spiritual fact, we can feel at peace as family circumstances change, for it is God who is the real source of our identity and satisfaction.
And what of violence in the home? At times there are major challenges, and it may seem there's little hope. Yet again, hope is found in God and in a spiritual view of man. God's man is not a rebellious, disrespectful mortal. He cannot abuse or hurt another, be disagreeable or unkind. Man is the image of divine Love. He is at all times loved and loving. He has no frustrations to take out on another. He can express nothing contrary to his God-given nature or being. As we steadfastly realize this, keeping our thought on the spiritual reality of man, despite appearances, destructive family situations can improve.
God values each of His children. Reflecting His love, which is impartial and all-embracing, we come to see the naturalness of cherishing each person with whom we have contact, irrespective of blood or marital ties.
Discerning the innate innocency and goodness of man as God's offspring, we become more forgiving of others. We are able in greater degree, following Christ Jesus' example, to see beyond the faade that would have us believe man is a fallen sinner; and this enables us to bring healing, morally and physically, to those in need.
In praying for peace in our homes or elsewhere, we might remember these words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ''True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us.'' n2
n2 No and Yes, p.39.
Without exception, God loves each of us. Prayer based on an understanding of His love heals. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be ye therefore followers of God, as dearchildren; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. Ephesians 5:1,2