In the Bible, in the book of Matthew, we find these words spoken by Jesus to his disciples:
“When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you”.
I have always found these words extremely helpful when having to speak in public, or when needing to find the right words in any given situation.
I had an experience recently with a neighbour when it was essential that what I said to him needed to be Love- impelled and Mind-directed.
A few weeks ago, this neighbour began cutting down some ivy which was growing along the flint wall between our two properties. He was cutting the vegetation back quite vigorously, and we thought nothing more about it, until a day or so later when we noticed that the flint wall had partially collapsed, taking with it some of our mature shrubs and bushes. Suffice to say, we were very upset to
see not only the destruction of part of the wall, but also of our prize bushes, which were such a lovely feature of this particular border.
My first reaction was one of anger at our neighbour, that he could have inflicted so much damage in our garden, particularly as he then offered no apology or regret over what had happened.
My husband has always viewed problems not as PROBLEMS, but as OPPORTUNITIES to witness God’s harmonious resolution of whatever appears to be troubling us. Adam Dickey’s article, GOD’S LAW OF ADJUSTMENT, includes these words:
“God is capable of adjusting everything as it should be. The fact is that all things are already in their rightful place; that no interference or lack of adjustment can really occur. It is only to the unenlightened human sense that there can be any such thing as discord. God’s universe is always in perfect adjustment, and all His ideas work together forever in perfect harmony”.
Staring at our broken wall and crushed border, it was hard to see how anything could be resolved harmoniously in this case. But it was then that ideas began coming
together, bringing a sense of resolution and “new views of divine goodness and love”. A loving neighbour put us in touch with an expert builder and brick layer, who duly gave us a quote for rebuilding the wall. He did a brilliant job within a few days, and the wall is now complete. When contemplating what we should do with the empty space where the shrubs had been, it came to me that it would be the perfect spot for a wooden arbour, complete with bench and trellis...this is now in the pipeline, and will become an attractive new feature in the front garden.
Although we were grateful for how this had worked out, we were aware that our next-door neighbour was planning to do more work on the other side of the wall, which could well result in further damage to our garden. It felt right to say something to him, perhaps asking him politely if he could leave things as they were, but I felt nervous about approaching him, not knowing how he would react to our request!
It was then that the verse from Matthew came clearly to thought:
“When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak...for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you”. And Mrs. Eddy
writes in Science and Health: “Right motives give pinions to thought, and strength and freedom to speech and action”.
Armed with these truths, I walked over to our neighbour and found him planting out his hanging baskets. We started chatting about the flowers, and I found myself asking him if he would kindly leave the remainder of the wall alone. To my surprise, he could not have been more accommodating or understanding. He invited me into his garden, and we stood on his side of the wall and discussed his plans for that part of the garden. He visibly softened when he realised that any further gardening work on his part might damage our side of the wall, and with a smile he said, “Don’t worry, I won’t undertake any further pruning along the wall...I’m happy to leave it as it is!”
All sense of resentment towards this neighbour just melted away, and harmonious relations with him remain intact.
For this unfoldment, and for all I am learning in Christian Science, I am truly grateful.