Unity – our natural inclination

Is conflict inevitable? Approaching our interactions from the basis of everyone’s inherent oneness with God is a strong foundation for unity that’s stable and lasting.

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Divisiveness seems prevalent these days. Some would say that this is human nature, that we are driven by fear and motivated by self-interest, in perpetual competition with our neighbor. And God is frequently conceived of as the originator of this imperfect individuality.

Yearning for a higher ideal of humanity, people often turn to the Bible. There we find men and women faced with the same kinds of challenges that we experience today, and we see examples of how they overcame those challenges through a more spiritual approach to life, an approach we can put into practice ourselves.

This opportunity to find guidance and healing in the Bible is available to all. When read in a spiritual light, the Scriptures reveal the nature of God, our divine Parent, as perfect, good, omnipotent Spirit, and each of us as God’s beloved child, reflecting this goodness and indivisible oneness with God.

The consummate example of this spiritual identity is Christ Jesus, and the foundation of Jesus’ life was his unity with God. His extraordinary exemplification of this unity gave him complete dominion over fear, illness, even death. He boldly declared, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus yielded to God, good, under all circumstances, and that enabled him to always bless those around him. There was nothing in him capable of injuring, even if his actions or words at times were stern. He demonstrated that God’s will is absolute good and embraces all.

Because this spiritual state is our true being, the inclination for unity is innate within us. When we wholeheartedly acknowledge our oneness with God, yielding to the divine will, nothing can stop us from being a powerful healing influence for unity in our community and beyond.

The ultimate potential of such influence is indicated in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, which says, “With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science” (pp. 469-470).

We can begin to prove the power of understanding our true, spiritual unity in small ways right where we are, as I found when I was newly appointed to my town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. I was immediately struck by the serious and frequent disagreements among the members over the cases which came to us. Despite a temptation to resign from the board, my prayers led me to stay and love my board “neighbors” by holding in my thought the reality of the unity that Jesus proved.

Before and during each session, my prayer was to see and love each member as one of God’s children, and I prayed to listen for the divine will, silencing any preoccupation with what I thought I personally wanted as an outcome. I found that the more effective I was at turning from that limited, human perception of others to the divine sense of these neighbors, the more it seemed to me that our decisions were benefiting all concerned and were accomplished with less contention.

During the remainder of my term, our interactions and discussions were characterized by goodwill, mutual respect, and unity. This was a proof to me of the power of prayer to heal division.

This is a modest case compared to situations of disunity that need to be healed around the world. But it points to the good that can be accomplished if we each approach how we live our lives from this basis of understanding everyone’s true unity with God, good, in which creator and creation are one, with no possibility of separation. Proving this reality in our individual experiences helps us to more confidently affirm the same truth for all humanity, contributing to the healing of division more broadly.

In his prayer for unity among his followers, Jesus says: “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.... that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us” (John 17:11, 21, English Standard Version). This indicates for all time the significance of unity, its foundation in God, and the basis of our natural inclination to express it.

Adapted from an editorial published in the Nov. 2, 2020, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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