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Going to court?

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LITIGATION--taking one another to court to settle our differences--is a mounting practice in society. Although some matters require legal procedures, far too many lawsuits are motivated by uncontrolled fear, dishonesty, selfishness, or revenge. A rational view of our relationship with one another could certainly settle more disputes out of court and reduce the burden on the judicial system. At the bottom of the problem is our need to take more seriously the all-power and righteousness of God's law. The Psalmist wrote: ``Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.'' 1 Applied faithfully and selflessly, the law of God, divine Principle, can harmoniously resolve an international dispute over territorial rights as surely as it can a quarrel between two children over a pail and shovel. In every case, the demonstration of this law rests on an understanding of man's real being as the reflection of infinite good, the very nature of God. It rests on a recognition that God supplies man with all good. We can't truly be deprived of what God alone provides. A woman inherited a trust fund from her husband, which eventually would go to his children. Her plans for its use were prudent and considerate of the children. An in-law, however, was unwilling to accept the terms of the will. Greed tempted him to turn family members against the woman and to try to wrest the entire trust from her. As a result, she found herself drawn into a distasteful and unjust lawsuit. At first the injustice of it all shocked her and she became resentful. But a growing interest in Christian Science led her to consider the whole experience in light of God's all-governing law. She began to see the importance of viewing herself and others as God's children, who are not deprived of any good and who have no need to take what rightfully belongs to others. The in-law attempted to intimidate the woman by hiring a criminal lawyer to prosecute the case. The judge, while experienced, was not thoroughly versed in the subject at hand. Despite this, the woman's fear and resentment lessened as she gained confidence in the supremacy of divine justice. After the second day of the court proceedings she called a Christian Scientist friend who was praying for her and told him the case would continue yet another day. The friend assured her that if she maintained her faith in God's law and witnessed only to truth, any wrong motives would be self-exposed and destroyed. He referred her to a statement in the Christian Science textbook by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, which reads, ``Error of any kind cannot hide from the law of God.'' 2 This truth firmly supported her, and she took the stand the next day in the full strength of Spirit. At one point, the antagonistic relative suddenly dismissed his attorney and insisted on speaking in his absence. The judge, however, ruled his impulsive behavior out of order and promptly dismissed the suit in favor of the woman. Enlightened thought acknowledges the need for law, both to preserve legitimate freedoms and to rein in untoward inclinations. Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, which includes the Golden Rule, shows that righteous interpretation and implementation of law must depend on a true spiritual assessment of one another. St. Paul put it this way: ``Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.'' 3 Is there any better way to counter a litigious trend? 1 Psalms 1:1, 2. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 95. 3 Romans 13:10.


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