Let divine Love guide your conversations
Audio and Sentinel Link Copyright: The Christian Science Publishing Society By Elaina Simpson, C.S Reposted: Let divine Love guide your conversations
I learned so much about the importance of turning to God’s love to guide our conversations instead of reacting.
A neighbor I’d never met called me and was extremely upset. In an effort to serve our community, I had rounded up some neighbors to help with a need. But this woman told me she was usually the one to organize things like this and had already started working on a project to help meet the need. She was not happy that I had taken this initiative without her knowledge. I had been unaware of her volunteer work and its scope, but she felt her efforts had been wasted, and her side of the conversation was filled with false assumptions, harsh criticisms, and belittling comments. It was difficult to know how to respond. But in situations like this, when a conversation becomes uncomfortable or heated, I’ve learned to turn everything over to God, divine Love. I’ve come to trust that prayer will reveal what I need to know about the natural harmony and peace that exist spiritually within and between us. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, ‘I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,’ because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 21). Right in the middle of a conversation, we can listen to God to guide all our communications. This was an opportunity to recognize the power of God, divine Truth, to overcome the error of division, hurt, and fear. Praying with an understanding of our relation to God and to each other as God’s beloved daughters and sons instead of trying hard to connect humanly with another person enables us to demonstrate our innate spiritual connection, which is already present. Prayer tunes us in to God as divine Love, and to Love’s moment-by-moment direction. It’s not always necessary to take a break to go somewhere else and close our eyes in order to pray; right in the middle of a conversation, we can listen to God to guide all our communications. Truth overcomes error in our thoughts and interactions when self-focused thinking is replaced with selfless love. I’ve learned from my study of Christian Science that unselfishness is actually natural to us all. God knows each of us as His child, His reflection, and prayer helps us see what God sees. God is not selfish, and we as God’s image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27) reflect His qualities. Therefore, we have innate freedom from selfishness. When our motives are good—when we are focused on how we can give rather than on what we can get out of an interaction—then our communications are blessed. Prayer leads our conversations to be based on genuine connection with others rather than on superficial topics or personal opinion. Our connection with others is deeply rooted in our oneness with divine Love, so we can rise above the temptation to connect with others, for example, by complaining about something or someone. The Bible says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). We can apply this statement to each interaction we have and ask ourselves, “What is our motive? Is this conversation meant to genuinely connect with people—to uplift thought and promote healing—or to gossip, complain, and put them or others down?” When I was growing up, my dad would always remind my siblings and me not to “talk down” to each other, meaning not to put one another down or belittle with negative comments, especially in an attempt to make ourselves look better. This is a helpful standard whether talking with a relative stranger or someone we know well. We can engage with others in a way that acknowledges that we are all intelligent ideas of God, worthy of being heard. When we pray to remove self-justification from our thoughts and conversations, we are removing the temptation to put others down or to blame them for our own errors. Then, it naturally follows that we lift others—and ourselves—up. I prayed to know what Love would lead me to say. During that phone conversation with my neighbor, after many minutes of hearing only criticism, I was tempted to tell her I needed to hang up. But I wondered, How would that uplift anyone? I found this thought helpful: “Never breathe an immoral atmosphere, unless in the attempt to purify it” (Science and Health, p. 452). My prayer led me to find a way to “purify” the negative atmosphere of this exchange. My neighbor had mentioned that her sister used to do a similar type of community work with her. And although her point was that they knew what they were doing and I didn’t, I decided not to react to the harsh tone and words. Instead, I mentally affirmed that there was no separation between God and me or my neighbor and prayed to know what Love would lead me to say. Then, the words came naturally as I responded, “That was nice of you both to do this for the community. It sounds like you had fun with your sister.” I also mentioned that it sounded as if she and her sister had been close. My neighbor explained that her sister had been her best friend, whom she had taken care of for a long time and who had passed on a few years earlier. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this,” she said, “but I’ve never been able to get over it.” At that point, the heated tone of the conversation changed. It was uplifted, and by the end of the call, she thanked me and said she hoped I would take on this community role when she rotated off the committee. She added, “I’ll have to invite you over sometime.” This experience was a blessing! I felt at peace about my neighbor, and I learned so much about the importance of turning to God’s love to guide our conversations instead of reacting. Even in challenging situations, God shows us that it is natural to listen for and act on Love’s guidance in all our conversations. __ Have a great evening,
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