WE had moved to a different part of the country, and our son, Michael, had to change schools. We had moved from just outside a large city to a very rural part of the country. The new environment was quite a change for all of us.
Michael soon made a few friends at school, but he was also having trouble with some kids. They were picking on him and even going out of their way to push him around and make racial remarks to him. He didn't know how to respond to this unexpected hostility.
At first Michael tried standing up to them; then he tried avoiding them; he even changed his lunch hour so he wouldn't run into them. But none of these things worked, and his first year at this school was pretty difficult. When the whole problem started up again the next year, Michael and I both knew something had to be done.
We finally agreed to pray about the situation. We prayed to see that everyone, including these troublesome individuals, is God's child. And if we're all God's children, we have to behave like God's children. The Bible asks, in the book of Malachi: "Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?" (2:10)
Although he'd seen Christian Science heal other things, Michael was a little nervous about trusting prayer in this situation. But one day when these fellows were coming toward him, he reminded himself, "Now, these are God's perfect children." All of a sudden, they turned around and went the other way! This encouraged him to keep praying-to keep seeing everyone at school as God's child.
During this time, I prayed to see that only God's will is in control, and that because man is God's image, is like Him, no one has a separate, mortal will of his own that he has to show off. Our relation to God as His children enables us to see each other as brothers. God creates each of us to express the good qualities it takes to be a friend.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, wrote a book of poems. One called "The New Century" says: " 'Tis writ on earth, on leaf and flower: / Love hath one race, one realm, one power" (Poems, p. 22). I gave this idea a lot of thought, praying to see that in God's universe there is only one race, not many different races at odds with each other. Paul tells us in Galatians, "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" (3:28). I hadn't thought of myself as prejudiced toward others, but when I was really honest with myself I saw that I had been judging people because of age, social status, the way they dressed, and maybe because of religious beliefs. It was necessary to correct this type of thinking and to replace prejudice with unconditional love for all mankind.
Michael and I continued to pray, and all of a sudden things started to change for him. The harassment stopped completely. One boy that had been involved wanted to be Michael's partner during a class, and another one also became a good friend. Michael now feels totally comfortable and accepted at his school.
A new commandment
I give unto you,
That ye love one another;
as I have loved you,
that ye also
love one another.
By this shall all men know
that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love
one to another.
John 13:34, 35