IS your enemy someone who disagrees profoundly with you personally and always seems to be making trouble for you? Perhaps you feel your opponent is a particular political group or another nationality, religion, or color. The enemy may seem to be any or all of these, but in a very profound sense enmity is never really personal. We tend to think of it strictly in terms of people, and this is understandable. But isn't the common denominator always a state of thought? Enmity expresses subversive, destructive thought -- impersonal, carnal thinking that would undermine our confidence and composure and create divisions among us. When we begin to realize this, we've taken a first important step toward gaining dominion over evil, and through prayer we can forward the healing of conflict. Subversive thoughts presuppose a mind and a power apart from God, from the one divine Mind. But devisive, destructive thoughts are illegitimate because God is infinite, the only power, the only creator, who governs all identities. In absolute truth we all express the one perfect Mind, because we all have one creator. True creation isn't filled with warring mortals with personal minds continuously in conflict. God's offspring, spiritually created and governed, live in harmony.
It took me quite a long time to be able to apply this practically in my own affairs. When I felt I was under personal attack I would perhaps read the ninety-first Psalm, which begins, ``He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.''
I knew the secret place is a state of calm, spiritual thought, and not a physical locality, and I tried to cultivate and maintain this mental state. Doing so kept me out of trouble, but it was a long way from obeying the injunction Christ Jesus gave to his disciples to love their enemies.1 Not hating I found possible. But actually loving was something quite different.
It never occurred to me then that my ``enemy'' might himself be reading the ninety-first Psalm, or whatever his equivalent to this might be, and he would be seeing me as the ``enemy.'' Then during a time of war I read a testimony in a Christian Science periodical about the experience of a mother who was on the other side of the conflict from my countrymen and me. She told how she had prayed effectively for her son, who was a prisoner of war in one of our camps. This startled me and showed me how far I still was from seeing that divine Mind is really universal and governs all of its offspring without exception.
By that time the war was nearly over, and I soon forgot about enemies. But some years later I found myself in the midst of an outbreak of violence where there were no such clear-cut demarcations between friend and foe, and some of the people I knew and loved were suddenly branded as enemies. By now I was more willing to turn unreservedly to divine Mind to guide us all and to show me how best to pray and to reverse and disarm destructive, hating thoughts so as to help unify us and heal the situation.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: ``Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation?'' She goes on: ``Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception? What is it that harms you? Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good, -- that blesses infinitely one and all?'' Then she says: ``Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect.2
It's one thing to accept this concept in theory, but quite another to practice it consistently. Still, each time we do practice it we are lessening the hold of destructive thought to that extent, and letting the government of divine Mind appear more convincingly to everyone concerned.
1See Matthew 5:44. 2Miscellaneous Writings, p. 8.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.... Colossians 3:15