Peace in the classroom

I'M a college professor. One of my responsibilities is to evaluate others. It's also my job to guide the growth and development of those I evaluate. That's often a challenge. Not long ago in one course there was continuous conflict. Students, feeling wronged, were angry at me. One student would often involve others. Since the conflict seemed to erupt without cause, I couldn't deal with it rationally. I remember feeling almost helpless. On one occasion, as I returned to my office, I thought, ``Here we go again.'' Just as quickly, however, I mentally said ``No.'' I had done all sorts of things I had learned as a professional in order to make peace. But conflict continued. Then I began to pray. I believe that prayer is effective in solving problems.

In this case my prayer wasn't a pleading with God to set things right in my class. I remembered Jesus' prayer prior to the crucifixion when he said, ``Not my will, but thine, be done.''1 And I tried to pray with humility, as Jesus had taught his followers to do. I was sure I could trust God's infinite wisdom and perfect goodness. The Psalmist sang of God, ``Thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.''2 So I trustingly placed the situation in God's hands, confident that He would guide and govern each of us.

Throughout the Bible, prophets and disciples of the one God often challenged people to put away the ``other gods'' and serve God alone. In the Old Testament, after a recounting of all that God had done for them, Joshua is represented as saying to the people, ``Choose you this day whom ye will serve.'' Affirming their obedience to the First Commandment, the people answered, ``The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.''3 I knew that I too needed to choose.

The First Commandment says, ``Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'' And the second warns about bowing down and serving other gods.4 I had been thinking and acting as if there were some powerful evil person or influence at work in my class. And I had assumed that nothing could be done about it. Yet God in His commandments to us affirms that He is the one God and there is none other. In truth, then, there is no other power, presence, intelligence, or law.

A basic premise of Christian Science is that if God is all-powerful and always present, evil cannot be an actual power or a presence, even though it may seem to be. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says: ``We must learn that evil is the awful deception and unreality of existence. Evil is not supreme; good is not helpless; nor are the so-called laws of matter primary, and the law of Spirit secondary.''5

In choosing to honor the one God, I began to affirm my trust in the all-powerful God to govern all of us. And I endeavored not to bow down to, not to accept and fear, the evil that seemed to be in my class.

As I walked back to my office that day, my ``No'' wasn't merely human will or positive thinking. Rather it was a certainty that evil was not even a possibility. I felt absolutely clear that God was present and so all was well.

That was the last of the conflict. I had the same students in a second course, during which relationships were beautifully harmonious. Final course evaluations written by the students verified this.

Many long for peace at home, at school, at the workplace. It can be attained. This simple example verifies the possibility of achieving peace through prayer that is based on an understanding of God's presence and perfect government of His creation. 1Luke 22:42. 2Psalms 67:4. 3Joshua 24:15, 24. 4See Exodus 20:3-6. 5Science and Health, p. 207. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Isaiah 43:11, 12

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