Is harmony still relevant?

Sometimes disagreement can be so deep-seated that harmonious resolution seems unattainable. But when we let God – rather than resentment, anger, or self-righteousness – inspire our approach, we come to find that harmony and healing are never out of reach.

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On any subject, there can be a variety of opinions. That’s certainly normal. Too often, though, this seems to be taken to an extreme, with disagreement going hand in hand with negativity, resentment, and even anger.

In light of this unsettling trend, here is a provocative question: Is it possible to be in harmony with someone with whom you disagree?

At one point, a close friend and I were thinking through a plan of action relating to a situation that was important to both of us. We each felt that our own approach was correct. Our disagreement was deep-seated and sincere.

Yet throughout our discussions, we stood upon what proved to be a powerful foundation: the deep care we genuinely felt for one another, reflecting God’s love for all His children. This didn’t mean we avoided tackling the hard questions. Rather, as we thought the topic through together, this commitment to living our God-given harmony gave us the clear-sightedness to recognize an even better solution than the ones we had each first identified on our own.

Harmony built simply upon human emotions, as well-meant as they can be, doesn’t contain the glue needed when we’re wrestling through tough issues. Something more is required. Christ Jesus once prayed to God that his followers “may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:22). Constantly, Jesus felt his oneness with God, whom the Bible names Love, and this comforting awareness enabled him to love, help, and heal friends and enemies alike.

Christian Science teaches that we each can follow Jesus’ example and prove for ourselves the great value of thought that humbly yields to divine harmony. Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy explains in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “For true happiness, man must harmonize with his Principle, divine Love;...” (p. 337).

Solid, permanent harmony is a quality of divine Principle, another name for God. As such, it has infinitely more staying power than any human emotion. Best of all, God expresses and maintains harmony in all of us, as His spiritual offspring, without interruption. To recognize this, even when inharmony seems most overwhelming, is powerful prayer – prayer that resolves and heals.

Putting this into practice involves more than thinking about God as the source of true harmony. It’s about letting God, Love, shape what we think and do. When singing with someone, it’s more pleasing when you bring yourself into harmony with the other person’s voice, rather than just singing your own tune. Similarly, as we go through daily life, we can bring our thoughts into harmony with the Love that is God. In fact, doing so is more than just pleasing; it’s a great joy of existence. Some of the notes and tones of divine Love are thoughtfulness, comfort, insight, health, and pure goodness.

“Be not conformed to this world,” counseled the Apostle Paul, “but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). Thought in conformity with the world may include self-righteousness, resentment, and anxiety. Thought in conformity with God, however, is thought that is in conformity with God’s purity, God’s authority, God’s goodness, God’s love, God’s all-presence.

So, it’s worth it to actively let our thoughts harmonize with God. Instead of resenting an individual with whom we disagree, we can prayerfully behold ourselves and the other person in harmony with God. To do this is to love in the same manner that Jesus urged us to.

In a vibrant poem, Mrs. Eddy compares the thoughts we think to the strings of a harp. “O’er waiting harpstrings of the mind / There sweeps a strain,” it begins (“Poems,” p. 12). We can invite divine Love to play the harpstrings of our thoughts with its beautiful goodness and harmony. As a result, we’ll find ourselves honestly able to proclaim, as it says later in the poem, “Father, where Thine own children are, / I love to be” (p. 13).

Is harmony still relevant? It certainly is! And when we look to God as the source of genuine harmony, we find that, yes, it is indeed possible to be in solid harmony with someone – even when we disagree.

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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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