Peace: the fruit of obedience
ISN'T the key to establishing peace obedience to the law of God, to the Ten Commandments?1 These inspired rules point out the way to Godlike thinking and acting. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, had great love for the Hebrew Decalogue. In the Christian Science textbook she quotes the First Commandment, ``Thou shalt have no other gods before me,'' and then adds: ``The First Commandment is my favorite text. It demonstrates Christian Science. It inculcates the tri-unity of God, Spirit, Mind; it signifies that man shall have no other spirit or mind but God, eternal good, and that all men shall have one Mind.'' 2
The Ten Commandments came to my rescue once when a clash of values threatened to destroy the peace between my parents and me. I was a college student at the time. I had applied for and was accepted in a rather controversial exchange program that would have allowed me to study for one semester at a distant university. I felt strongly that this was a God-sent opportunity, a unique experience that would bless me and others in tangible, permanent ways. But my participation required parental approval.
My mother and father were dead set against this program. They expressed fears that I thought were ungrounded and irrational. Bitterness threatened to destroy the longstanding peace between my parents and me. I turned wholeheartedly to God in prayer for a solution.
In the quiet sanctity of communion with God, with divine Mind, two healing ideas dawned on my thought. The first was several lines of a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal: Shepherd, show me how to go O'er the hillside steep . . . ; I will listen for Thy voice, Lest my footsteps stray; I will follow and rejoice All the rugged way.3
These words by Mrs. Eddy reminded me of the importance of Christlike humility. I felt a need to obey God in this whole matter, whether or not the outcome was pleasing to me personally. I had a desire to follow the example of Christ Jesus, who again and again yielded to the Father's will.
Next, I found myself pondering the Fifth Commandment given in Exodus: ``Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.''
This law of God was my complete answer. I came to feel strongly that it didn't matter so much who was right or wrong in the question of the exchange program. What mattered most was my willingness, in this case, to honor my parents' sense of what was right. I knew, somehow, that I would be blessed in the long run if I obeyed this commandment.
Without harsh words or hurt feelings, I agreed to drop my request for going on the exchange program. I felt compassion for my parents' fears over this issue and a desire to put them to rest. My parents were deeply relieved. What seems most precious to me now, years later, is that peace prevailed through obedience to God's direction. Clearly, we all have to be guided individually by God, our eternal Father-Mother, and the answer I received in this case might not be the answer for another in a different situation. Yet I was impressed that a rupture of relations between parents and child was avoided through simple adherence to the Mosaic Decalogue.
What, then, could obedience to the Ten Commandments do on the world scene? Consider for a moment the profound relevance of these two commandments: ``Thou shalt not steal'' and ``Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.'' If world leaders, and all of us, faithfully obeyed these divinely ordained laws, we would do much toward establishing peace among nations. Perhaps our prayer for the world needs to include an affirmation that all peoples innately do yearn to be governed spiritually, by divine law, because in truth all are God's offspring. We can realize in prayer that because God is supreme, and everyone's actual selfhood expresses the divine nature, such motives as self-interest, greed, and personal ambition cannot overshadow the desire for righteousness. Our understanding that the might of divine Mind empowers right desires can help individuals and nations cherish the values underscored in the Ten Commandments. As humanity grows to love God (by whatever name they call Him), obedience to His laws will follow. And obedience will bear the fruit of peace. 1 See Exodus 20:3-17. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340. 3 Hymnal, No. 304.