When discussion of an important group decision left a woman feeling resentful and defensive, she found that letting God – rather than willfulness – guide her brought peace and harmony.

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The subject line of a recent marketing email I received read, “The Best Defense.” It reminded me of an experience I had in which I had to make a hard and important decision together with some people close to me. We had always gotten along splendidly. So I was a bit shocked when all of us had different ideas of what would be best!

As time went on, it was an even bigger surprise to me that no one seemed to see my point of view. In fact, I felt as if I were being ganged up against.

A meeting to discuss options was coming up, and I was feeling very much on the defensive. I was trying hard to see everyone’s reasoning, but I couldn’t. I felt pressured to build a case for what I thought would be best – to gather the most compelling facts, use the right words.

But whenever I tried to prepare for the meeting, I got angry and resentful and afraid. I hated feeling that way, and I hated feeling so divided from these loved ones.

So I did the only thing I knew how to do: pray to God for guidance.

What came to me was that I had to stop acting defensively, as though I had something to prove. These ideas from the Bible came to mind: “The battle is not yours, but God’s. ... You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you” (II Chronicles 20:15, 17, New King James Version).

What this meant to me was that I didn’t have to try to impose my will on anyone, but rather could turn to God for a solution. As God’s children, everyone involved was being divinely cared for, loved, and guided to an outcome that would bless us all.

Christian Science explains that Mind is a synonym for God, the only legitimate intelligence and consciousness in the universe. This all-wise, all-knowing Mind governs its spiritual ideas, God’s children, harmoniously at all times.

This helped me see that instead of being on the defensive, I could be on the offensive by affirming in my prayers what God was already knowing and doing. Instead of gathering an abundance of facts and figures, I prepared for the meeting by thanking God for His tender, loving care and mentally appreciating everyone involved. This meant recognizing everyone, not just me, as the child of God, united by divine Love.

When the time of the meeting arrived, from the start it was evident that God, the divine Mind, was present. There weren’t a half dozen conflicting opinions. We all listened to each other, spoke lovingly and respectfully, and harmoniously arrived at a solution that continues to bless all involved. I was so grateful!

A Christian Science Sunday School teacher once told me, “The best defense is a spiritual offense.” When we let go of willfulness and instead consider the nature of God as good, and our relation to God as His spiritual offspring, we become more conscious of what is good and true – of God’s reality, the true reality for all of us.

This isn’t wishful thinking or a utopian dream. Rather, it is the empowerment to awaken to, and take a stand for, divine goodness and harmony in our lives. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, speaks to this in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously” (p. 392).

Are we seeing the world through the eyes of God, or accepting that circumstances that God, good, doesn’t cause, such as conflict, are more powerful than God? It can be a tall order keeping thought in line like that! And I am not always on the ball about doing so. But from many experiences of responding from a spiritual standpoint, I can say that when inharmony of any kind comes up, such as anger, fear, or conflict, we can always ask, “Did God create this?” If the answer is no, if it could not come from the infinitely good God, then we don’t have to accept that the situation is unfixable, and we can turn to God to lead us to harmony.

Now when I hear the expression, “The best defense is …,” I smile and think, “a spiritual offense, of course!”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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