The timeless basis for cooperation
A Christian Science perspective: A spiritual outlook on cooperating between coworkers, communities, and countries.
Most of us have probably engaged in a mental squabble with someone, if not a verbal one, over what turned out to be of little consequence. Pride, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, or difficult circumstances can sometimes spark a conflict or perpetuate it. But when an issue of much greater significance arises, what seemed so important or disruptive can quickly fade into insignificance.
It’s in everyone’s interest, regardless of differences, to come together, especially when there’s a lot at stake. The report of greater cooperation in the Monitor editorial “The impressive rise in global teamwork” (CSMonitor.com, May 22) talks about joint efforts to achieve progress in crucial areas of concern. The editorial says that according to the latest “report card” from the Council of Foreign Relations, “The world gets a ‘B’ for working together, up from a ‘C’ the year before.”
What impels a true spirit of cooperation? It transcends self-interest or even the urgency of circumstances. It’s inspired by something deeper, as we can learn from the Bible.
The Scriptures teach that God is infinite and all-powerful. And they say very simply that “God is love,” (I John 4:16), a fundamental truth demonstrated in the life and healing works of Christ Jesus. The Bible also brings out this truth: that each one of us is actually the outcome of divine Love, that our genuine being is the very image of God (see Genesis 1:26, 27). So coming together in cooperation is normal and natural, regardless of nationality, longstanding differences, or any other factor. It’s an irresistible manifestation of divine Love.
Here’s a small personal example. I once had an argument with my immediate supervisor. I felt he didn’t grasp, and wasn’t addressing, some of my concerns about the work. Up to that point we had gotten along well, but the relationship got chilly, and we had to work together each day. Fortunately the situation was resolved over the next two or three weeks, including healing of the relationship. One factor in the resolution was a mutual recognition that the work we were doing was far more significant than this particular squabble. He came to see and appreciate the issues I brought to his attention, and I saw more clearly some of the challenges with which he was grappling. But I’m certain that mutual respect came about through the impulsion of divine Love, felt in prayer. I had been silently working to realize, in prayer, that we were both governed by divine Love, expressing Love’s nature, having the “mind ... which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
Because God is all-powerful, infinite Love, harmony is the spiritual reality of existence right now, caused and maintained by Love. It’s the “very good” that actually characterizes God’s creation (Genesis 1:31). Yet, in human experience, harmony is often hidden by thoughts and actions opposed to Love. If so, selfishness, deprivation, domination, suffering, or conflict may sometimes seem pretty unyielding. But because they’re contrary to the way things really are – as God made and maintains them – they’re contrary to divine law, and inevitably must give way to a higher sense of life and to God’s totally just government. Prayer, springing from a conviction that Love is the true governor and motivator, can help in this direction.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, “Eternal harmony, perpetuity, and perfection, constitute the phenomena of being, governed by the immutable and eternal laws of God...” (“No and Yes,” pp. 10-11). She also says: “The higher nature of man is not governed by the lower; if it were, the order of wisdom would be reversed. Our false views of life hide eternal harmony, and produce the ills of which we complain” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 62).
Although great patience and persistence are often required, genuine progress in global cooperation, or in our own sphere of activity, is the outcome of universal divine law – of the fact that all of us are truly governed by divine Love.