When our views become entrenched, what’s next?
Too often, an exchange of ideas becomes an imposing of one’s opinions. But letting God, Love, impel our thoughts and actions dissolves willfulness and self-righteousness that can hamper progress and harmony.
“The trouble is,” said my friend, “we love to argue ideas, but instead of coming together and agreeing, or respectfully disagreeing, we become more and more entrenched in our own corners, and it gets louder and louder until we explode!”
I understood what she meant. How often the exchange of ideas can quickly become just the opposite – the aggressive imposing of one’s opinions. “Entrenchment” is a word heard often in the media as an acceptable position to take, mistakenly being regarded as implying strength and resilience when in fact it is just the opposite, indicating inflexibility and limitation. An experience from some years ago came to mind.
I got into a dispute with a local bank when they lost the house deeds attached to our mortgage, which we needed to prove our land boundary. I telephoned various managers, wrote letters, bullied staff into searching basements, and complained endlessly. This went on for a significant period of time. Entrenched in a self-righteousness that was based on “the injustice of it all,” I made little progress with healing or resolution.
One day, exhausted by all this willful effort, I gave up screaming and took a pause. For the first time in many months, I turned to God with a simple prayer: “Dear Father-Mother God, help.” It was a deeply humbling experience. I started to cry, and while praying humbly to God for a release from the tension, I felt the tender embrace of my all-loving Father-Mother God comforting me. I dropped all sense of injustice, vowing to let divine Love govern my thoughts and actions.
The beautiful teachings of Christian Science emphasize the importance of striving to live according to Christ Jesus’ teachings and example. I searched the Bible for the deeper meaning of his lifework and became more interested in his capacity to forgive his accusers. I began to forgive all who were involved, including myself for getting so entrenched in the problem. God loves us all and leads us forward in productive, healing ways.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Through the channels of material sense, of worldly policy, pomp, and pride, cometh no success in Truth” (“Retrospection and Introspection,” p. 79). Christian Science has helped me see the difference between healing, spiritual thoughts from God, which constitute reality, and materialistic thoughts, which stem from a false view of man as mortal, stuck in matter, and governed by human will.
As I began identifying myself as a spiritual idea of God, intact and whole, I also started to recognize that my approach to fixing the problem was based in a stubborn personal sense of how I thought things should be worked out. Shifting my approach to letting the entire situation rest in God’s care, which included letting God, Love, guide my thinking and its mental dialogues, I began to feel at peace in a happier, calmer trust in God. This helped me break free from yielding to self-will and thinking of myself as a helpless victim. I became “unentrenched,” and I felt free.
I was no longer fighting but listening to spiritual ideas. These ideas were revealing new ways I could witness more of the living Christ, Truth, in my life. From there, much progress was made – and the bank eventually found the deeds! All the issues relating to the trouble were resolved harmoniously, one by one, through prayer and reconciliation.
In the face of divine Love’s all-embracing power, self-justification and self-righteousness lose their supposed ability to manipulate us. For in divine Love there is no discord, only peace and an ever-unfolding sense of spiritual well-being, grace, and substance.
Through prayer we can gain confidence in God’s power to loosen and dissolve entrenched beliefs. In this way we are empowered to witness the activity of Christ, Truth, which dissolves selfish resistance, illuminates the darkest places of human thought, and reveals a new way forward.
Adapted from an article published in the Sept. 23, 2019, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.