Courage in the face of dissension

Even when disagreement turns hostile, God has given us the courage to stand up for our inherent unity as brothers and sisters in God – which paves the way for resolution and healing.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Dissension – whether in our family, other groups we are associated with, or the broader world in which we live – is never easy to deal with. It takes courage, because it means being more dedicated to being a healing influence in the world and less concerned with promoting our own agenda. The question that gets me started and keeps me going in the right direction is this: “What can I do that can actually promote healing?”

The biblical figure David offered an ideal for us to keep in mind: “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1). That’s not simply an ideal to wish for; it is one to work for, which can be challenging at times. David also gave this encouragement: “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart” (Psalms 27:14).

As I’ve prayed about this in recent days, I’ve thought of the Latin words “e pluribus unum,” which appear on the Great Seal of the United States of America and on all U.S. coins. That phrase means “out of many, one.” When I think about this idea from the standpoint of Christian Science, it reminds me of the fundamental goodness and integrity of every individual as God’s child.

Now, that spiritual goodness isn’t always evident. We see difficulties arise between people, stemming from conflicting elements in the human personality that can clash, become divisive, and sometimes become violent. Nevertheless, there is a powerful spiritual starting point for thought and action that Christ Jesus gave us, which helps bring people together in unity. He said, “After this manner therefore pray ye,” and then gave us the Lord’s Prayer, which begins, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9).

“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of the spiritual laws of God that Jesus practiced and demonstrated, gives to humanity a spiritual sense of the Lord’s Prayer line by line. This interpretation begins:

“Our Father which art in heaven,

“Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,

“Hallowed be Thy name.

“Adorable One.”

(p. 16)

The realization that we are all children of one divine Parent has given me the courage to pray in a way that forwards unity when divisiveness arises. I’ve learned not to think of people as many conflicting personalities who need to be coerced into agreement with one another. Rather, we all come from one “all-harmonious” creator, which makes it natural for us to work and live together in unity.

Sometimes prayer from this standpoint can bring a very quick return to harmony. Other times it can take longer for unity to be established, or reestablished. This is when we need the courage to keep praying. And to do it selflessly, with conviction in God’s supreme ability to hold all of us in perfect unity with Him and with one another.

One time, an out-of-town visitor to my local Church of Christ, Scientist, testified about how she had prayed for a child of hers who had angrily separated himself from the family. For many years he never communicated with them, and they did not know where he was. But every day she prayed; she acknowledged that her son was embraced by God, divine Love, who held him and the entire family together in loving unity. Then, one day, he returned and rejoined the family. Forgiveness and love were expressed by him and by all.

Unity among people begins with individually putting our trust in God as the Supreme Ruler over all – and yielding to God, good, consistently and persistently in our own thoughts and actions. As Science and Health states, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations;...” (p. 340).

At times it can seem that evil influences have power to overrule God’s government of good. But when we put our full trust in the “all-harmonious” One who holds us in perfect unity, we won’t be fooled into letting disagreement turn into taking hostile sides against one another. This is the only position that ever truly wins: the position of unity under God, who gives worth, integrity, and dignity to every individual.

To the extent that we love and trust that God holds every one of us in perfect unity with Him and with one another, each of us contributes to the new birth of courage and unity in ourselves, our nations, and the world. We can do this with joy and persistence, in thought and action, every day.

Some more great ideas! To hear a podcast discussion about the continuous nature of good restoring, healing, and protecting us, please click through to the latest edition of Sentinel Watch on titled “Omnipresence: God's presence embraces our past, present, and future.” There is no paywall for this podcast.

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