Conflicting opinions, without conflict
When clashing political views threatened a longtime friendship, today’s contributor found that learning more about God as Love enabled her to nurture compassion and patience rather than anger and intolerance, and harmony was restored.
After years of enjoying shared interests and an enriching and supportive friendship, as politics, health care, and other major issues increasingly dominated the news I found I was at odds with every opinion of one of my good friends. If I expressed my views, we argued; if I kept silent, I felt stifled.
It wasn’t that my friend had to agree with my views, or I with hers. I just wanted to preserve the friendship and to restore the kindness in our communications.
With no solution emerging, I turned to prayer, something that has been helpful to me so consistently. When I feel close to God, I feel inspired to do good; my heart feels uplifted, and I feel united heart to heart with my neighbor.
At first my prayer was to mentally draw a big heart of love, put the problem in it, and turn it over to God without thinking more about it. This was comforting but, I soon realized, not enough.
I decided to look closely at the values my views were based on. They included the desire for safety, stability, balance, truth, wisdom, and freedom. I knew these were the kinds of values behind my friend’s views too. Then I realized that these are actually universal qualities because they are spiritual, from God.
The Bible teaches that God is Love (see I John 4:8). Divine Love, God, governs all creation with safety and wisdom. Love’s care is stable; there is no imbalance. Love’s truth is naturally expressed in God’s spiritual offspring, both male and female. When our thoughts and actions are inspired by this spiritual reality, we experience more peace.
This wasn’t easy. My first attempt to apply and affirm these ideas left me overwhelmed. However, I felt a deep conviction that I should persist. I found a supportive statement in the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. It reads, “We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives” (p. 248).
From studying Christian Science, I understand these “perfect models” to be a spiritual perception of the nature of life. They start with the understanding that God is good and therefore produces only good. Personal opinions cannot alter, influence, or change the spiritual fact of everyone’s true goodness as Love’s divine expression.
Humbly, I opened my thought to expressing more qualities of Love, such as compassion and patience. I mentally claimed that God is always present and governing. As I consistently did this, my friend’s views no longer irritated or angered me; they no longer threatened my feeling of safety and security. I felt secure in knowing God’s care is universally inclusive.
This friendship of many years continues. We still have different opinions about things such as politics and health care, but respect, kindness, and good humor have been restored. And I learned an important lesson: In God’s love, there is unvarying peace and joy.
Christ Jesus said, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6). Our “closet” is mental – turning to God in prayer. Shutting the door includes establishing mentally that nothing can separate us or anyone from the limitless good divine Love has for all of us. And we are “rewarded” with inspiration that meets our needs.
Each of us can, through prayer, truly know God as Love and learn more about our very special relation to God as Love and to one another as God’s precious children. This lifts intolerance and anger from our hearts and minds.