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The Power of a Loving Response

A WOMAN was picking berries by a country road. Her two small children were playing nearby. A large dog approached and began barking ferociously. There was no physical escape at hand or place to take shelter from the animal. The woman began to affirm aloud that only good was present, that good was the only true power, and that God, who is Love, was governing. As she prayed this way, she really felt God's love for her, for her children, and for the animal. Spontaneously, and somewhat to her own surprise, she said, ``Good dog!'' The dog stopped barking and immediately left.

When we are faced with aggression of any kind, it is helpful to start with the prayerful acknowledgment that because these negative traits aren't God-created, they haven't the power they seem to have to affect us or the other individuals involved. The Bible assures us that man is the totally good creation of God; he is spiritual, made in God's image and likeness.

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It is, of course, the times when the perfect man of God's creating seems least in evidence that we most need to disarm potentially explosive feelings with our own prayerful, loving response. When we are trusting God's government of His creation, we do not need to be overwhelmed by expressions of violence. But we do need to be consistent in our affirmation of the fact that man is God's loved child, that he is governed by divine Principle, good, and that the only reality is God and His creation.

Because God never made destructive anger or aggression, His creation cannot express these ungodlike traits. Instead we can expect to see the goodwill and justice that are natural to man as God's creation. Holding to the truth that God is always knowing and loving each of His children has a very powerful effect in our everyday lives and can disarm hostility.

Recently two people were very angry with me. I was upset and knew that first I had to do something about how I felt. I prayed to understand more clearly man's spiritual identity as God's dearly loved child, eternally blessed by Him. I saw that not only could I feel God's love, but that both of these individuals could also feel His love. Soon a way opened up to resolve the difficulties that gave rise to confrontation.

Christ Jesus said, as we read in Luke's Gospel: ``Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.... Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.'' Because man is created by God, he naturally reflects the qualities of his creator. So as we understand our genuine, spiritual identity more fully, we find that our experience includes more of the blessing and mercy that we ourselves are increasingly learning to express.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, says of God, divine Love, in her Miscellaneous Writings, ``Love metes not out human justice, but divine mercy.'' And she adds her own tender note of conciliation, saying: ``I would enjoy taking by the hand all who love me not, and saying to them, `I love you, and would not knowingly harm you.'''

It takes courage to trust steadfastly in God's love and respond with love in the face of anger and aggression. But when we do this, we are putting ourselves in the invincible safety of God's government, which assures us that, in any situation, a loving response is the wisest and strongest response we can make.

The Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine, contains more articles about God's power to heal.

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