The Right We All Have
YEARS ago I had taken a job as a manager of hundreds of people. Roughly half were men and half were women. Rules were generally followed courteously by most of the employees, but with a few of the men it seemed like a battle each time I stood firm with decisions. It was a couple of weeks before it dawned on me that I wasn't being opposed because of the rules, but because I was a young female. It was as though a few men could not, or would not, believe my authority.
I liked this job and knew I needed to pray for healing, because the sting of discrimination could soon ruin the joy and anticipated progress of what we all were doing.
The answer came through study of the Bible and a book that helps us better understand the Bible's message, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science. The first chapter of Genesis in the Bible gave me a clearer picture of myself. It explains that man is made in the image and likeness of God, ``male and female created he them'' (1:27). God is my divine Parent, my Father-Mother, and since God cannot be divided, I am whole.
Understanding my true self to be complete was a right start. The prejudice was still evident, however. To assert myself intellectually (I did know my job well) did not seem like the right answer. I strove not to flaunt my ability or especially provoke shame in these men. I knew that only a spiritual approach would bring about a solid healing for all of us.
I could expect Mind, God, to reveal the presence of impartial respect. God's children naturally love and respect one another without bias. I didn't have to make these men respect my authority; that respect was already part of their genuine identity.
I was struck by a sentence in Science and Health that seemed appropriate to the situation. It reads: ``Man's rights are invaded when the divine order is interfered with, and the mental trespasser incurs the divine penalty due this crime'' (p. 106). At first, however, I felt this sentence referred to some other person invading my rights. Then the following incident happened:
A woman needed directions. I very patiently and kindly explained what to do. But I could see she wasn't understanding, so I explained it a different way. About the third time of trying to get across what seemed like a simple concept, this opinion flashed through my thinking: ``It is women like this who give females such a bad name.'' This mental suggestion was more of a ``mental trespasser'' than any individual. I was appalled at such an interference with my rights! Knowing that such a thought could not come from God, divine Mind, I saw that I had full rights to reject it. Yes, these were my rights!
My rights included more than just to have the opportunity to get ahead in the world or to prove myself. God's children--all of us-- have a more basic right that can't be taken away, the right to manifest or express good, God. This includes impartial love, holiness, and honesty. My right to love and be lovable are ever safe and can't be invaded. And because my rights are spiritual they are not dependent on another person or a material condition. Managed by divine Mind, I could not interfere with the divine order of impartial respect by accepting anyone as inadequate.
I became less conscious of people as young or old, female or male. Any prejudice that surfaced I saw simply as something to be dissolved. On the job we laughed together, helped one another, and learned together. Correcting the situation took a few weeks--and a lot of prayer--but the result was lasting. I won't say there was never another challenge to my authority, but each new challenge was quickly dealt with on the same prayerful basis as the initial situation. I enjoyed that job every single day.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28