THE teacher was intimidated by the youngster, and she knew it. She loved her Sunday School class, and she prayed every day to be able to love that young boy. Yet, at one point, she even prayed for a legitimate excuse to resign -- a questionable prayer at best! Finally one day her prayer was answered. Certainly not in the way she expected, which is so often the case when we pray as Christ Jesus taught us: ``Thy will be done.'' Another young student came as a visitor. Toward the end of the class she turned to the teacher and asked, ``Who's boss of this class anyway, you or him?'' For a moment the teacher was almost overcome with humiliation. Then suddenly the answer to her weeks of prayer came to her very quietly. She spoke as gently to the child as God had spoken to her: ``Neither of us is the `boss' here. God governs all of us.''
When we temporarily forget, or do not know, that God is the true governor of man, we are wide-open to personal domination. Although we may be confident that we couldn't be intimidated by an eight-year-old, there may be other times when not understanding who's ``boss'' can be a problem. An unjust employer, a domineering friend, or even a spouse may sometimes so intimidate an individual that he seems unable to stand up for himself.
At times like these it is important to recognize that God is always governing His creation, regardless of what we're experiencing to the contrary. This is the spiritual reality of being, the truth of creator and creation, which can be proved in our lives. We can prove, even in modest ways, that man is governed by divine wisdom and that his true being isn't a superior or inferior mortal but God's spiritual image. We have God-given dominion -- not over other people but over fears and weaknesses, including lack of moral courage.
No one really wants to feel intimidated by another individual. Can't you just imagine how that teacher must have felt! But over the years she had learned in Christian Science how to overcome other facets of fear through an understanding of God and her relationship to Him. She recognized, then, that fear -- in this case lack of moral courage -- had no dominion. She knew that dominion, as God's gift to His offspring, is the spiritual understanding that God alone governs man. She took a strong mental stand to stop believing that man was ever outside divine Love's control. The situation was healed. The child ceased to be a disturbance, and the teacher learned a valuable lesson.
Moral courage is the ability to stand up for what's right for us. When it's based on the understanding that God governs man and that man is, in truth, His image, it will always bless. Pitting self-will against self-will is not moral courage, and no one really wins.
Lack of moral courage usually stems from fear of loss. Loss of popularity. Loss of companionship. Loss of security. What is gained by yielding to domination from others is self-depreciation. What is lost is self-respect.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Man is tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing else.'' In the proportion that one accepts this spiritual truth and strives to live in accord with it, moral courage increases. Fear of domination decreases. The desire to please people becomes less important than the desire to please God. The temptation to wonder ``who's boss'' ceases to occur as one progresses in his understanding that God alone governs man.