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Adjusting to another culture

When refugees, laborers, or students enter countries with different cultures from their own, problems sometimes seem inevitable. Are they? Not if we challenge them deeply with God's law of harmony.

God's law is universal. It governs each of His children -- each spiritual image of infinite Love -- impartially and perpetually. As the Psalmist prayed to God, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." n1

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n1 Psalms 119:18.

Think of the many "wondrous things" Christ Jesus did. He fulfilled God's law , demonstrating its effectiveness in healing sickness, destroying fear, reforming sinners. His parable of the good Samaritan, which told of a foreigner (to Jesus' audience) aiding an injured man when local religious leaders wouldn't , points up the practical meaning of God's law of love. n2

n2 See Luke 10:30-35.

Hatred, jealousy, fear, narrow cultural prejudices, are antithetical to God's law. No matter what the justification, because they do not express God's universal love for all His children, they are without divine sanction and ultimately without power. They are products of the unreal material mind that claims to oppose God. This "mind," or "the devil" in Bible language, is the supposed source of all discord. And because this "source" has no immortal power , it can be deprived of strength through prayer and Christian practice. As Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes, "To suppose that God constitutes laws of inharmony is a mistake; discords have no support from nature or divine law, however much is said to the contrary." n4

n3 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 183.

Obedience to God's law brings the protection of His law. It shows us how to help those of other nations. But even if we don't come in contact with people of different cultures, we are still important in the effort for world peace.

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A young foreigner, proud of his country's achievements, was rather critical of the rest of the world. As an atheist he felt superior to any believer in God. Another foreigner from an ancient culture and orthodox religion was hurt by his remarks. These people were to live with me for some time, and to establish harmony I knew ungodlike beliefs about them had to be given up and replaced with the true view -- God's view -- of each one.

I realized that whether a person believes in God or not, the spiritual, eternal, real man ism God's creation. I thought of the God-derived qualities expressed by the young man who called himself an atheist: cheerfulness, willingness to be useful, gratitude for kindness and care. I dismissed self-righteousness, ignorance, and rudeness as erroneous mortal beliefs, belonging neither to God nor His reflection, man. I affirmed God's omnipotence, trusting His law of harmony to prevail.

A few days later my young friend said, rather surprised: "People here are very honest. When I buy something, I always get the right change back." He began to read this newspaper, which he had shunned because of its religious affiliation. And he began to listen to and respect other points of view. His hurtful remarks were forgiven and forgotten. A happy relationship developed between the three of us, leading to stimulating and enriching talks.

In the measure that our understanding of man's God-given individuality grows, limiting views of ourselves and others recede, and harmonious adjustments are made in accordance with God's law. Life in a foreign country, whether temporary or permanent, can then become the joyous, enriching experience it should be. DAILY BIBLE VERSE There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all th at call upon him. Romans 10:12

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