shadow

How about purple?

Faced with dysfunction and divisiveness in a group she was involved in, today’s contributor found that acknowledging the inherent good in all of God’s children was the first step in letting go of defensiveness and resentment and finding needed harmony.

With public opinion battles throughout the world seeming to get louder and louder, could a more constructive discourse still emerge? In the United States, where I live, the two major political parties are often identified by color: blue for one party and red for another. Amid the current acrimonious political climate, I have been, metaphorically, thinking purple. Yes, a rich, deep purple, the harmonious blending of red and blue that represents to me the idea of more productive conversations on important issues.

In my small circles, I am grateful to be seeing patches of purple appearing as fractured divides unify. Measures of humility and hope and even signs of peace and assurance are surfacing as harsh judgment is silenced. Rivalry is being replaced with collaboration, yielding better results. That’s purple for you!

To illustrate, I was connected to a group where for many years strong opinions created dysfunction. Criticism on each side obscured the good intentions of both sides, which generated ill will and defensiveness. It was terribly unpleasant and counterproductive, and it was easy to get pulled in.

However, I was confident this situation could be healed because I had seen before how God mercifully answers every need in ways that benefit all concerned. So in deep humility I started to pray, to quietly listen for what our divine Father had to say.

The first thought that came to me was that I needed to take a mental step back, to stop clinging to my own reactions and resentments. I considered the idea that we are all the innocent children of God, our good and spiritual creator, not mortals at loggerheads. Accepting this enables us to replace condemnation with appreciation for the inherent spiritual good in our fellow men and women.

Christian Science also teaches that God, known as divine Mind and Love, is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever present. So no situation, regardless of appearance, could be too contentious to be redeemed or out of divine Love’s control.

As I began to mentally embrace these ideas in earnest, not only did my own approach become less defensive, but I also felt a sense of peace about the situation. And it wasn’t long before things started to change in the most unexpected ways. Pleasant conversations replaced mocking and criticism. The tone of meetings shifted from acrimonious to harmonious. And individual agendas were forfeited for collaboration in working toward the common good. Today that organization remains productive and fruitful.

I love revisiting this experience that helped me see that God’s peace is in operation, manifesting needed harmony, if we are receptive to it. “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, refers to this powerful presence as the Christ, “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332). As we are willing to listen to the Christ message, answers do follow. That peace that so many are seeking right now doesn’t unfold from venting hate and frustration on social media, yelling across political aisles, or forcing agendas. It blossoms out of loving others and cherishing everyone’s spiritual individuality and divine brotherhood, a sound basis for working together.

This may seem hard or even feel impossible, but with pure thoughts and right motives, the best outcomes are attainable. Just as red and blue naturally make purple when mixed, spiritual love and respect combined inevitably lead to the kind of needed progress so beautifully identified in the spirit of this hymn:

“Let all that now divides us
     Remove and pass away,
Like shadows of the morning
     Before the blaze of day.
Let all that now unites us
     More sweet and lasting prove,
A closer bond of union,
     In a blest land of love.”
(Jane Borthwick, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 196)

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