Words that help and heal

It’s natural to want to help when we see conflict. Acknowledging God, divine Love, as the communicator of infinite goodness and grace opens our thinking to know what to say that will bring comfort to the individuals involved and healing to the situation.

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Once when I worked in a framing shop, an expressionist artist brought in a painting of two individuals standing on either side of an unfinished brick wall, each holding a brick. The title of the painting was “Words.” I wondered out loud if the bricks symbolized words, and whether these words were building up the wall between them or tearing it down. With a twinkle in his eye the artist replied, “That’s for you to decide.”

Ah, the power of words! Mary Baker Eddy, a renowned spiritual healer, wrote of the power of words to heal when they come from a place of genuine caring: “The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 367).

But what is it that inspires the words that help and heal? In my study and practice of Christian Science, I’ve found that God, divine Love, is the communicator, speaking not to the ear but to the heart. Because God is completely spiritual and good, His thoughts are only good. And as we earnestly seek to hear Him, we silence human will, and harshness, anger, and hurt are dissolved.

Even during conflict, we can prayerfully pause to hear the healing words of God and know how to speak them in a way that another’s heart can accept as well. Since we are all made in God’s image (see Genesis 1:27), everyone has the ability to feel and understand what God is communicating to us, and to find healing. It’s not just saying the words of spiritual truth that brings healing, but realizing these words are the manifestation of Truth, God, governing any situation.

Science and Health states, “Remember that the letter and mental argument are only human auxiliaries to aid in bringing thought into accord with the spirit of Truth and Love, which heals the sick and the sinner” (pp. 454-455). So, it isn’t so much what is said that heals, but what the heart understands as the spiritual reality of God’s love for us in action.

I once witnessed the power of spiritually inspired words when two individuals I knew had a falling out that was so severe they hadn’t spoken to each other for years. Any attempt I’d made to be a peacemaker was rebuffed. When all my efforts for reconciliation had failed, I realized it would take the grace of God – the touch of divine Love – to speak to each in a way that would soften and heal the hurt and anger.

As I have found at many times in my life, healing conflict begins with healing my own thinking first. In this instance, I prayed regularly that both individuals would feel the touch of God’s love.

One day I received a call from one of them asking me to speak to the other about getting together. While I was overjoyed by the humility it took for this individual to reach out, I was unsure as to how I could convince the other person to be receptive to a get-together.

I earnestly prayed for God to give me the words that would be accepted and that would tear down the wall that had existed for so long. What I came to realize was that God, who had revealed humility in the heart of one individual, had also prepared receptivity in the heart of the other.

The idea that I would not be speaking to a bitter, angry person, but would be addressing this person’s Godlike nature, created in God’s image, comforted me. The right words came, the invitation was graciously accepted, and a reconciliation took place that very day. That was years ago, and these friends have shared a deep and heartfelt love for one another ever since.

The same grace of God that restored this relationship can heal other issues as well, whether small or large. We can start with ourselves by asking, Are we flinging bricks of hurtful words at each other and building up walls of suspicion, hate, and prejudice? Or are we tearing down walls, through receptivity to the power of God, which opens the way for dialogue and healing?

I love this short, simple prayer: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalms 19:14). When the words come from God, there can be no doubt of a peaceful outcome.

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