Convenient peace or true peace?
EACH of us has seen peace come about. Perhaps we have been moved by the natural kindness of a child who instinctively comforted someone in need. Perhaps we've seen a peacemaker in the office who wisely helped change a conversation that was becoming increasingly bitter. Maybe we've watched a policeman who calmed an agitated citizen. But occasionally we've seen futile efforts to resolve conflict because a merely convenient peace was sought. This ``peace'' tried to hide the trouble that needed to be dealt with honestly for the betterment of others. And consequently the difficulty bubbled up with increasing ugliness.
The question then arises, ``Can one be a peacemaker and gloss over troubles?'' No. True peace comes only when sin is uncovered and repented of. This is the Christian manner of achieving harmony. While Christ Jesus taught ``Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God,''1 he also said, ``Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.''2
Jesus' life stands behind both of these teachings. He is especially known for his great and pure love, for his healing, comforting, and forgiving. No one has ever helped mankind so much or brought such true peace to individuals. But he never hid sin. While the Christ, or divine power, he embodied brought healing and peace to many, to some his life and words were a continual rebuke--a ``sword.''
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``The Master forbore not to speak the whole truth, declaring precisely what would destroy sickness, sin, and death, although his teaching set households at variance, and brought to material beliefs not peace, but a sword.''3 And she says elsewhere, ``Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love.''4
Christian Science teaches that the basis of true peace is spiritual. There is one God, Spirit, who is ``our Father,'' as the Lord's Prayer says. His offspring, expressing His nature, are spiritual, upright, loving, complete. God's offspring cannot harm or be inharmonious. The strife and selfishness that appear to be inherent in man are not characteristic of our true selfhood. They're products of carnal, materialistic thinking and must be destroyed by Christ, Truth.
Christian Science not only shows one his true, Godlike nature but also shows how he can begin putting off whatever would cloak that nature. Then an abiding inner peace and greater harmony with others follow.
At one time a Christian Scientist found herself in a very disruptive situation. It was examination time. Dormitory life was noisy. And a number of individuals in the dorm were missing money, jewelry, and clothing. Peace seemed elusive. Many suspected that one particular girl was the thief because she was known to lie and to use illegal drugs, and she had a history of stealing. But all tried to obtain a convenient peace by covering over the problem and ``just being nice.''
The Christian Scientist turned to God to find some peace. She was surprised at the spiritual guidance she felt from Him. She was impelled to go to that particular girl and ask her for her belongings. She did this, but there was no response. Continuing to pray, she deeply yearned to understand God better. Then, for the first time, she began to see that in reality there was only one God and that His family was in harmony. She saw that God had not created a thief and that God was the only creator.
Apparently at the very same time the girl whom she had confronted, and who had in fact stolen her things, felt a complete change of heart. She told the Christian Scientist that she suddenly felt the most profound sense of love because of the way she had been honestly and directly spoken to. She returned all of the things that afternoon and within a short time returned everything she had stolen in the dorm.
Peace has a spiritual basis. Peace within the individual and between people is based on the true relationship man has to his Maker.
1Matthew 5:9. 2Matthew 10:34. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 19. 4Ibid., p. 264. Daily Bible Verse:Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them. Psalms 119:165.