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Healing relationships with in-laws

With most marriages comes a whole new set of relations: in-laws. This increase in the family circle can and should be a boon. But too often these relationships are fraught with discord.

It is sad that trouble with in-laws has become proverbial in our society. But we do not have to accept this as inevitable, as some kind of law governing us and our families. Through applying Biblical truths we can experience progress and healing in our relationships with in-laws.

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This progress can begin now. We do not need to wait for an opportunity to say or do something ameliorative. Although such actions may be the natural outgrowth of prayer, healing always takes place primarily in consciousness. As our thought becomes more enlightened by the truth of man's actual, spiritual being as the likeness of God, Love, and as we refuse to express animosity, self-will, and other forms of material-mindedness that cause discord, our relationships conform to our more spiritual view.

''But my consciousness is not the one that needs healing,'' one may assert. ''This problem rests squarely with my in-law(s).'' Yet to humbly admit that the problem we face can be met by divine Love's outpouring of right ideas to our own thought, may be the first step in meeting that problem.

Christ Jesus admonished his followers, ''Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.'' n1 His life proved this sacred teaching and its reward.

n1 Matthew 5:44.

To obey Jesus' command may seem impossible if we are attempting to love a mortal personality. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.'' n2 This is what we must do: discern ''the perfect man'' of God's creating, the true identity of each one. Only then can we obey Jesus' command to love unconditionally.

n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476-477.

Certainly God does not love one of His children more than another. Expressing His love, we rise above a limited, personal sense of affection that would embrace immediate family members but not in-laws.

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Recognizing that divine Love is impartial, and that this Love is expressed in man, brought permanent healing to our family. For years my husband and I had a very discordant relationship with his parents. They had opposed our marriage, and had even gone so far as to try to prevent it. After our marriage they often accused us of not caring about them. Despite our best efforts to welcome them into our hearts and our home, they continued to claim I had turned their son against them. Visits with them were unnatural and tense. It seemed obvious they did not like me and could not accept me as their son's wife.

My husband and I turned to God often for guidance in dealing with this situation. We did experience some progress over the years. But complete healing came one day when I realized that God's children - and that included my in-laws in their true being - could express only the spiritual love that reflects the universal nature of divine Love. My false view of these relatives as being unjust mortals was healed. This all occurred just before they were to arrive for a visit - a visit that proved to be the first entirely harmonious one we had ever had. Many other such contacts with these loved ones have followed, without a hint of the old problem.

For one beset with an unpleasant in-law relationship there is hope. Instead of blaming another, we can open our own thought to God's ideas. We can pray to better understand every individual, including ourselves, as the expression of impartial divine Love. This enables us to relinquish antagonism, exclusivism, and resentment, and to love more as Jesus loved. The result is inevitably a blessing for all concerned. DAILY BIBLE VERSE $5He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stum bling in him. 1John 2:10

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