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When faced with anger, choose to love

Rather than letting others’ anger spark our own, each of us can be a force for peace and progress by letting God’s love, instead of hate, guide us.

As I watched a TV program laced with anger over government policies and positions of elected officials, I started to feel angry. My insides tightened, and I became critical and gloomy about my country’s future. The more I listened, the angrier I got.

After a while of soaking in this negativity, I realized that I wanted to break free from being caught up in the on-screen rage. I saw that fiery anger and across-the-board condemnation were not constructive ways to promote progress. So I protested. “Wait!” I mentally declared. “I don’t have to get angry because someone else is angry. I can think for myself and let love, not anger, lead me.”

I thought of something I’d learned in Christian Science: that God is the one true Mind we can trust to govern us, His creation. This divine Mind is also Love (see I John 4:8), and Love does not impart hatred, fear, and intimidation but governs with tenderness and care.

As God’s children, we are divinely endowed with the ability to express qualities of compassion, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, and goodwill toward our neighbors, no matter what side of the political spectrum they may stand on. The temptation to be cruel or feel self-righteous toward another is not of God, and therefore not an inescapable state of mind. We can choose to let divine Love lead our thinking, to stay open-minded and respectful.

I knew that my country had its share of problems begging for resolution, and as I considered how to help, I found comfort in the idea that God, Mind, inspires ready solutions to any problem. The need is not to get embroiled in further fearmongering, but to listen for Love’s calming, healing direction. Each of our fellow men and women also has the innate ability to do the same.

As I mentally committed to being a healing influence rather than a perpetuator of negative emotion, the change in my outlook was dramatic. I no longer felt like a mindless puppet manipulated by political spin. I was expressing more of my true nature as a child of God: in possession of good thoughts, and also showing love and consideration toward others.

The lessons learned from this experience can be applied to any number of different scenarios in life – any scenario where we may feel justified in getting angry because the atmosphere around us is an angry one. For instance, if a friend gets mad, we may feel compelled to get mad with him. Or others who are upset may strive to get everyone around them upset in order to justify their own anger.

But when we understand that there is one Mind – divine Love – that governs all and meets the needs of the moment, we can humbly listen for solutions and overcome mental turbulence. We can prevent our thoughts from being swayed by heated emotions and wild fears, instead allowing divine Love to work in us, inspiring the restoration of peace and calm. As children of God, we are not unthinking beings destined to believe and accept whatever is thrown at us. We reflect the intelligence and wisdom of God, enabling us to reason through issues with grace and poise.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote, “Love must triumph over hate” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 43). It’s the primal nature of God’s sons and daughters to love, not to be angry and self-righteous. We all reflect the one Mind, divine Love, which we can turn to in keeping our thought at an inspired height that feels and knows God’s presence. This in turn dissolves fear and opens our perspective to discern doable solutions.

Adapted from an article published in the Jan. 30, 2017, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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