By Nina Brown, Member of Third Church of Christ Scientist
When I do something that my granddaughter doesn’t want or like me to do, she says, “No thank you!” This got me to thinking about the implications and usefulness of that phrase when it comes to the thoughts I entertain and the life I want to live.
I had been struggling with hurt feelings over a perception that some friends’ attitude towards me had changed. I kept mulling over why this could be and felt righteous in deciding that whatever it was, they were wrong about it.
As a Christian, I recognized this as contrary to the Golden Rule which says, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” It doesn’t say, “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you, unless they are thinking or saying bad things about you or acting indifferently, etc.” There are no exceptions mentioned in the Golden Rule, which means that there is no justification for not following it and living it in my daily life.
I also recognized this as an opportunity for prayer and healing. I started by following my granddaughter’s example and stopped thinking about my hurt feelings and annoyance by saying, “No thank you” to them when they came to my thought. I also thought more deeply about the act of saying, “No thank you” to unproductive and hurtful thoughts and recognized that I needed to replace these wrong thoughts with right ones – with God-centered, good ones. I needed to practice the Golden Rule. And I needed to see my friends with the same loving view that Jesus would.
I realized that it wasn’t their thought that needed changing, it was mine. Here I was, believing my friends were thinking bad things about me, but I was thinking bad things about them!
In her major work entitled, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Christian theologian Mary Baker Eddy says, “Stand porter at the door of thought”. To me, this statement implies a duty to examine thoughts to make sure they are loving and Christlike, to make sure they are in accord with the Golden Rule. As I pondered this, my annoyance with my friends began to fade and was replaced by gratitude for their love of God and selfless actions toward others, including me. I knew that their innate goodness as children of God was the most important thing about them and it could never be over-shadowed by any misunderstandings or wrong perceptions on my part.
Peace filled my thought. I knew more clearly that wrong, false, or un-Christlike thoughts have no place in my consciousness. I can say ,“No thank you” and shut them out. This lesson started with a simple statement from my granddaughter and ended with healing. And, for that I can truly say, “Thank you!”