Dissolving intransigence

SOMETIMES in the political arena or in our personal lives we see signs of intransigence. Conflicts flare up because of an unwillingness to act righteously, in accord with the law of God. The culprit is stubborn human will. Can this demon be cast out? Yes. In the Bible we read the history of the children of Israel as they emerged from bondage in Egypt to establish a nation of their own in Canaan. Their lengthy journey was filled with backsliding caused by disobedience and intransigence. At one point, when Moses left the tribes of Israel so he could receive the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, his followers made themselves an idol of gold. The book of Exodus represents God as saying, ``I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people.'' 1 Over and over again the Israelites suffered for their disobedience to the one God. For forty years they were sorely tried. Christian Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, helps explain what was going on. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (the Christian Science textbook), Mrs. Eddy writes: ``Error excludes itself from harmony. Sin is its own punishment.'' 2 Prayer is potent to dissolve intransigence and so spare humanity a good deal of suffering. One kind of prayer is that which understandingly affirms the all-power of God, divine Love. Deity is not absent or distant. The goodness and might of God are an ever-present help, and our assertion of this truth, based on an understanding of it, is a powerful prayer. It's also important to realize in prayer that man is the very offspring of God, not an intransigent mortal. Knowing this to be the truth of everyone's being, we can expect to see a greater measure of humility, gentleness, justice, and mercy expressed. Although these qualities are not always apparent--and very far from apparent in some cases--they're natural manifestations of man's true selfhood. Paul pointed to this true identity when he said, ``We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.'' 3 And John wrote: ``If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.'' 4 Right where there seem to be stubborn human minds, our God-given spiritual sense can reveal the government of divine Love, and man expressing Love's holy nature. This higher, spiritual sense of creation becomes more tangible to us as we draw near to God in prayer. Giving up our belief that some of God's children are hopelessly steeped in sin, we discern the innate goodness of Love's offspring. This spiritual view isn't a sort of escapism that ignores the ``cold, hard facts of existence.'' Rather it's realism in its deepest sense, which helps shed light on the fraudulent nature of evil. Whether we're faced with a troublesome neighbor or an intransigent world leader, our consecrated prayer can make a difference. What's more, as we pray about a trouble we consider to be ``out there,'' we may find that our own thought is purified. Vestiges of willfulness in us can be uncovered and destroyed. Mrs. Eddy writes: ``Christian Science reveals Truth and Love as the motive-powers of man. Will--blind, stubborn, and headlong--cooperates with appetite and passion. From this cooperation arises its evil. From this also comes its powerlessness, since all power belongs to God, good.'' 5 Ultimately, we're honoring God by striving to discern man's spiritual goodness. The more we love Deity, the quicker we'll turn to Him when faced with evidence of stubborn will. Christian prayer will help us discern the kingdom of God at hand. It will help us see everyone as the child of Love--each one doing the Father's will. This vision must inevitably bring an increasing measure of healing to us and to the world. 1 Exodus 32:9. 2 Science and Health, p. 537. 3 II Corinthians 3:18. 4 I John 4:12, 13. 5 Science and Health, p. 490.

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