Defusing political disagreements

The other day I was unexpectedly swept up in a heated political argument. Nothing original was said. No one persuaded anyone on any point. Volume outdid content, and still no one heard anything except what he said himself. In short, the whole episode was pointless. Yet how often such arguments are repeated!

Isn't how we express an opinion just as important as the opinion itself? Study of the Bible can show us that God is Truth, infinite Love, divine Mind. How consistently are we living the qualities that express God's nature if we insist our opinion is right - and therefore the outcome of Truth - but resort to qualities far short of kindness and patience in uttering our convictions? Who will believe that our thoughts are the product of divine Mind's wisdom if our actions are not? Anything less than a loving and gracious manner does not really proceed from the all-loving, ever-patient Mind.

By refusing to rant and rave in a political argument, we may not prove a point concerning our favorite candidate or issue. But we may prove a far more important point concerning Christian forgiveness and brotherhood. In the long run, won't the increase of these qualities do as much toward improving society as one candidate can accomplish? We can start by strengthening our own Christianity, humility, and inner peace; by following Christ Jesus' example more closely; by expressing more of our actual selfhood, made in God's perfect likeness.

This is all very easy to say, but, oh how hard it is to stay out of the fray when hounded by someone expounding the virtues of the other political party! Referring to Deity, infinite Love, the twenty-third Psalm says, ''Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil.'' n1

n1 Psalms 23:5

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, defines the Biblical word ''oil'' in its spiritual sense as ''consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration.'' n2 We might recognize, then, that right in the presence of those vehemently opposed to our political views, divine Love is anointing us with charity, good will, gentleness. It's easier to be patient and humble when we look to God as the source of these qualities than when we try to stay calm through a limited, personal sense of forbearance.

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.592

It's easier, too, to remain calm when we consider the oneness of God and His creation. If there is just one creator, we are members of the same spiritual family as those we call opponents. If there is but one Mind, we must, in truth, be governed by the same Mind. Can we acknowledge, as Paul did, that ''to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him''? n3 In a creation where all is in and of one God, one Mind, there can be, in reality, no bitter divisions.

n3 I Corinthians 8:6

Is this the creation we really live in? Yes, but we need to open our eyes to it. As we pray to understand that one Mind has indeed established one creation, we can become increasingly aware of harmony before unknown. Joy in finding common ground can replace harsh political criticism.

In November 1908 the Boston Post reported that Mrs. Eddy approved of voting, and disapproved of dictating how others should vote. Then it published this statement of hers: ''I am asked, 'What are your politics?' I have none, in reality, other than to help support a righteous government; to love God supremely, and my neighbor as myself.'' n4

n4 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 276

If we adopt this Christian approach to politics and love those who differ politically, we won't be drawn into volatile debates in our effort to support good government. We will instead face opposing views calmly and promote a peaceful interchange of worthwhile ideas. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Though I speak with the tongues o men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as soundingbrass, or a tinkling cymbal....Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up....Charity never faileth. I Corinthians 13:1, 4, 8

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.