Whose side are you on?

MY daughter asked this question during the evening news broadcast. We had watched violent confrontations in a certain country and then heard interviews with leaders from both sides. Each leader spoke with conviction, fervently. ``Whose side are you on?'' I didn't answer quickly. I did know which side I felt was morally right. I did know where my sympathies were in this struggle. I could have said, ``I agree with so-and-so's side,'' and left it there. But her question sparked in me an even deeper challenge to my conscience. ``Whose side are you on?'' How often we hear words spoken fervently about one's political party, race, nationality, or religion. It seems that all parties say, in the midst of various disagreements, ``I'm on the side of justice!'' ``I'm on the right side!'' Is the world divided up into ``sides'' on every issue? And is there anything more we have to contribute than choosing a side? Of course justice and right require a strong stand. We must be courageous in declaring and standing for what is morally right. And at present this may seem to point to the inevitability of conflict, in which we have to decide what to support. The teachings of Christ Jesus, and indeed the Bible teachings in general, have been impelling me to take a more inclusive stand than I've taken in some years past. This stand is the steadfast recognition that there is really only one side, and that all God's children are already on that one and only side. This spiritual truth, transcending appearances, may seem hard to hold to at times. But we can, following Jesus' example. The night before his crucifixion he did not pray to win and to have the ``opposing faction'' lose. Although he seemed to be alone with his disciples and outnumbered, he prayed for all humanity: ``Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.'' 1 Many religious teachings include the spiritual fact that there is only one God. Even though arguments and differences have arisen concerning the nature of God and His laws, can't we have the humility to admit that the one God loves His creation and rules it with benevolence? (And the humility to discern His be- nevolent laws?) Ignorance of God's love for His creation is the producer of discord, the instigator of strife. To take God's side doesn't mean to dislike other people. If we hate prejudice, cruelty, or injustice, we must also cherish and love brotherly kindness, justice, and equality for all. To perceive the oneness of God, the spiritual perfection of man in His image, and the unity of God and man, supports struggling hearts everywhere--on both ``sides.'' It supports their ability to love and be just. It supports their capacity to trust in good and their capacity to think, free from narrow fears. It has a healing and unifying effect beyond what people might expect. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes this effect: ``One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, `Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,--whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.'' 2 I'm lifting my sights up to this. And that's why I answered my daughter's question this way: ``I'm on the side of God and His man, and we'll all ultimately win together.'' 1 John 17:20, 21. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340.

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