HUMORISTS find fertile ground in what's sometimes referred to as ''the battle between the sexes.'' But the humor disappears when violence occurs. Today we are all too familiar with that subject. It is a problem that is crying out for a prayerful solution. The resolution of inharmonious male-female relations can only come through a better sense of our actual identity as the sons and daughters of God.
This spiritual view is presented by Christian Science, the law of God, which was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy. It shows us the spiritual reality of our being as children of God, complete and at peace. The man that God made--and this includes you and me--is created in God's own image and likeness and is not a mortal with a separate mind or ego. God, Spirit, makes man as a spiritual idea, not material.
Self-worth is a natural quality in the man that God, sinless Soul, creates. In a remarkable definition of man in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy says of God's man: ''He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God's image and likeness; the conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore is eternal . . .'' (p. 475). I love that phrase ''the conscious identity of being''; it assures me that the man God made is consciously aware of himself as God's own child.
Understanding these spiritual facts brings about happier relationships between men and women, as I've found in my own life. I had been appointed to a town board, the first woman in the town's 325-year history to be on that board. I was one woman among eight men. Seven of them didn't speak to me at all during meetings, and the eighth was patronizing!
As a Christian Scientist I knew this situation had to be corrected through prayer--humble, conscientious prayer. It was the only thing that would work! I knew that I had to see each member of the committee as spiritual man--the man God made in His own image and likeness. I also had to include myself as the blessed child of God, not as a victim of the belief of male ego. Understanding the completeness of man (the generic term for men and women) as God's spiritual offspring makes men more manly and women more womanly. But that does not mean more macho or more fragile. It means each will be stronger, more loving, more patient, more vigorous, more pure, right here on earth.
As a result of my prayer, I made more of an effort really to listen at each meeting to see where each of the men ''was coming from.'' I was more peaceful during the meetings, and the anger disappeared. The men still did not consult me, but the meetings improved in other ways. Before the year was out, the two men whose language and demeanor had been the most offensive resigned from the committee. My second year on that committee was a direct contrast to the first year. A few years later, I was elected chairman!
Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health, ''Let the 'male and female' of God's creating appear'' (p. 249). As each woman expresses more of the divine nature in purity, goodness, and strength, and each man more tenderness, patience, and integrity, we see ''the 'male and female' of God's creating'' appear in our experiences.
Hatred of one another as a man or a woman is absolutely foreign to man's true being. Man is made to love and be loved, because God is Love, and God has made man. Sometimes changing our habits of thought requires close attention. But if we really want to end the ''battle of the sexes''--with everyone victorious--we will be willing to watch our own motives and reactions. Christ Jesus taught that man's relation to God is the most important relationship there is. ''Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,'' he said (Matthew 5:48). God is our Father; this makes all of us related to one another as God's children. To feel secure in God's love for us is a first step in feeling secure in our relationship with each other.
Prayer shows us the reality of man as Godlike, spiritual. This Godlike man is the individuality of each of us. Knowing this helps us move toward more harmonious and productive relationships.