Finding peace amid political rancor
A Christian Science perspective: One way to view and pray about political debates.
I had a dear friend who, when anyone would try to bring her into a political conversation, would always respond the same way – she would share this thought from the Bible: “The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). My friend cared deeply about world events, and she offered this as a way she was finding helpful in responding to situations such as a contentious and unorthodox presidential race: an approach with humble, healing prayer.
This election year here in the United States, more than any election ever before, has led me to pray with spiritual ideas I’ve learned in my study of Christian Science. My prayer isn’t asking God for one candidate to win over another, but seeks to understand the true status of man that is given in the Bible. The first chapter of Genesis presents man and woman as God’s spiritual ideas that are governed wholly and completely by God, who is good. It teaches us that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Leading up to that Chapter 1 finale is a record of creation unfolded in completeness and order. Nothing needs to be changed. Spiritual creation is intact.
As I’ve prayed about this more deeply, I’ve gained a deeper insight into how, in spiritual reality, there are no competing minds vying for position. There is in fact one divine Mind, God, who created us as His ceaseless good and intelligent expression. Negative personality traits are no part of man as God’s spiritual expression.
Reasoning from this humble spiritual standpoint, we are better able to feel the peace of knowing that we aren’t created to work against one another, but to lovingly coexist in unity and coordination with God’s order of perpetual good. And with this understanding, we can gain an assurance that God is guiding His children to express His goodness, and nothing else. This kind of prayer gives us the discernment and understanding that can play an important part in helping unify a community, a nation, and the world.
Where does this unifying take place? Right within our own thought. The teachings of Christian Science show that Mind, God, is the only true consciousness of man (that is, of all men and women, as we are spiritually created). As we gain this more spiritual view of creation, we may feel less inclined to be stirred up by media reports – or even conversations with family and friends. Instead, we more naturally begin to perceive the underlying truth of the unity, harmony, and peace that God sustains right where each day’s reported discords seem to be.
The Bible shows us in the story of Samuel how prayerfully seeking this spiritual view results in good. When asked by his people to choose a new ruler, the prophet Samuel acknowledged that “the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). Instead of judging by appearances, God guided him to choose the youngest of seven brothers, David, who served as a just and beloved king.
With renewed spiritual insight, we too can look on the heart. That is, we can pray to look beyond the personalities of candidates and strive to see them in the light of how God sees all His creation.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” pp. 476-477). The man of God’s creating reflects God, expressing His qualities of honesty, dignity, integrity, health, strength, and love.
Seeking to see through the negative and limited aspects of human personalities to this true identity of man in those competing for office may at times take persistent, prayerful work on our parts. But striving to emulate Jesus in this way, and listening for God’s ideas, helps restore a sense of peace to our thoughts, and this can surely bring a supportive, nonpartisan, spiritual influence to bear on the democratic process.