`On earth peace'

A GOOD friend was being unusually critical. His apparently unjust attitude kindled my hurt into anger. Lashing out verbally, I told him what I thought of his comments and stalked out of the room, turning a peaceful meeting into ruins. Later, of course, remorse outweighed anger. I began to think deeply about friendships among nations as well as among individuals. I had been reading the Bible story of the birth of Christ Jesus, and remembered the benediction of the angels as they announced the holy birth. ``Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'' 1 I wondered, as many of us may, why peace on earth still seems so far away. What can we do to hasten peace? It is a vital question to answer and act upon. The lives of thousands are placed in jeopardy daily by anger and revenge, both in individual quarrels that result in violence and as a result of conflict between nations. Throughout his three years of teaching and healing, Jesus set us example after example of how to establish peace on earth. There were so many situations to which he could have reacted in anger. His countrymen were under the domination of a foreign power, which caused them daily irritation; opponents of his teaching engaged him in verbal warfare; his students disappointed his expectations and deserted him when he most needed their support. Yet in all these situations he remained serene, refusing to react , strengthening and establishing peace instead of disrupting it. As we strive to follow Jesus' example, we will see that we don't have to try vainly to control ourselves but that we too are governed by the peace of God. It's the reality of our being, as the likeness of God, to express the peace inherent in the divine nature. Knowing that in truth God's creation is totally good, the outcome of a wholly good creator, and realizing that God controls all, we begin to see that neither man nor any situation is really ever out of control. We can pray to see more of this con trol in our own experience, until we no longer explode into angry reaction. This surely is a beginning to that peace on earth we all long for. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes, ``God is Father, infinite, and this great truth, when understood in its divine metaphysics, will establish the brotherhood of man, end wars, and demonstrate `on earth peace, good will toward men.' '' 2 It's important, then, to identify everyone in his true selfhood as our brother and not as the competition or an enemy. This is not to ignore evil or to be naive but to view others from a healing, spiritual standpoint. The fatherhood of God establishes the brotherhood of man, regardless of beliefs, cultures, or color. There is no friction between like elements. Two rays of sun are distinct but blend in harmony. So God's children, expressing only the elements of harmony, exist in unity. Man is God's loved child. He inherits every facet of his nature from God, including control. Despite appearances, then, man is not really mortal, inheriting negative traits such as impatience and anger. A clear perception of this spiritual, Biblically based truth helps us to eliminate unhelpful characteristics. And a deep realization that God is infinite, providing for all, enables us to see that there is in reality no lack. When this spiritual truth is more universally understood, fear of limitation,

covetousness, and jealousy will cease to provide a foundation for conflict. When the good relations of individuals or nations have been disrupted, it takes humility to restore peace. In my case, pride had to submit to understanding and forgiveness. It took humility to apologize, but since then my friend and I have been trying harder to express God's control in mutual respect and understanding. These small beginnings equip us all to help support those who have the care of relationships between nations. They equip us to make a substantial contribution toward world peace. 1 Luke 2:14. 2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 279.

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