NO one wants to experience the misery of emotional flare-ups within the family. Are peace and cooperation too much to expect on a continuing basis? The Bible teaches the sure way to realize harmony within the family unit and in all our relationships. It reveals in the very first chapter the fact that God made man in His own image and that He pronounced all that He created to be very good. There's no better starting point for placing family relationships on a firm basis.
Christ Jesus healed countless instances of inharmony through his clear perception of God as creator and of man as expressing the divine perfection. The real solution to family quarrels and unhappiness is found in conforming to the divine standard brought out by the Master, who said, ``Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.'' 1
Someone may be thinking: ``That's a fine ideal, but how can I really make it practical? How can I deal with anger, smugness, or irritating traits--in myself or in others?'' Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded; whereas a belief in many ruling minds hinders man's normal drift towards the one Mind, one God, and leads human thought into opposite channels where selfishness reigns.'' 2
It is a belief in many minds, in conflicting personal egos, that causes trouble among family members. But because there's just one infinite God, the source of all intelligence and wisdom, there's really only one Mind; and man, as the spiritual image and likeness of God, reflects this one divine Mind. When we acknowledge and realize, in prayer, that the divine Mind alone is governing all concerned and holding them in love, hostility is defused. Peace comes, not on the shaky basis of mere human agreement or appeasement but through the understanding that God's law of harmony is in operation.
We can help promote healing by realizing that the traits causing conflict are no part of anyone's genuine, God-created selfhood. God is completely good and made all. He never made conflict of any description.
It may not always seem easy to separate, from our own perception of another, unloving, sometimes ugly, behavior. But it can be done. All of us can dissociate such discords as hatred, jealousy, self-righteousness, spitefulness, and the like, from those with whom we come in contact. A clear concept of God as the only governing Mind and of man as Mind's expression will eliminate confusion and restore harmony.
Ultimately, loving other people is not something we can choose to do only at special times or when we feel like it. The Way-shower expected his followers to express the divine nature day in and day out. Jesus taught, ``Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.'' 3 It is our divine right to experience peace; it is also important that we make peace. We can do both successfully as we strive to replace the mortal, sensuous picture of man--the false view--with the spiritual, perfect concept of man that Jesus came to declare.
Understanding the great spiritual truth that selfishness, temperamentalism, and indifference to right conduct do not actually belong to the man God made enables us to look beyond appearances. It enables us to realize that God is the only cause or creative Mind and that His children are good and good alone. Empowered with the Christly, correct view of man, we can recognize inharmony as illegitimate and keep it out of family relationships.
As Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, ``Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony.'' 4
1 Matthew 5:44. 2 Science and Health, p. 205. 3 Matthew 5:9. 4 Science and Health, p. 495. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. I Peter 3:8