Choose love in the face of anger

A Christian Science perspective: Compassion and forgiveness can have a powerful healing effect.

One time when I had a bag of documents that needed to be shredded before leaving town the next day, I called a shredding company that accepts drop-offs. However, I was caught off guard when the man I was speaking with quickly became irate because it was not a scheduled day for such drop-offs. With no effort to hide his indignation, he reluctantly agreed to help if I could get there within a half an hour. I said I would be there and thanked him.

When I hung up, I could feel this man’s intense anger so deeply that I was actually shaking. But I have learned in my life the great joy that comes from striving to meet antagonism with love and compassion. In particular, I am inspired to do so by the example of love that Christ Jesus epitomized.

I have found that the more I express this Christly love, and strive to see the good in my fellow man, the more opportunity there is to bless and be blessed. I wanted to look beyond the picture of an extremely agitated person and instead see God’s child, who is inherently pure, perfect, and innocent, full of joy and kindness. As I did so, it became clear to me that as God’s precious children, neither of us were capable of rankling each other or causing disruption.

With no time to spare, I vowed to uphold this line of reasoning and to forgive. I felt confident that would have an impact, and it did. The situation had completely turned around when I arrived at the shredding company. Not only was this individual genuinely welcoming, but he also “rolled out the red carpet” so to speak. He gave me a tour, shredded my papers, and encouraged me to come back and ask for his help anytime. I was very appreciative.

I was also in awe of the healing effect that naturally resulted from being Christlike, and seeing and accepting only the truth about man as God’s child. The impact was tangible, enriching both of us, as this dear man acknowledged. When I was leaving, he humbly let me know that he had been touched by our interaction. When I replied that I had been touched as well, he gave me a hug.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, defines Christ as “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 332). What if we all strove to open our hearts more to the compassionate, forgiving love this divine message brings us? The outcome would have to be more healing.

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