One healing way to deal with an email by a disappointed colleague, a note by an offended church friend or an unjust lamentation by a family member - or any other expression of frustration - is a simple phrase, I find. This simple phrase can open the door to reconciliation, take the flames out of a heated debate and help the individual to leave the scene without losing his or her face. This phrase is: "This doesn't sound like you."
What an open mental space you create. I heard this phrase some years ago and have never forgotten it. It is a possibility for transformation for everyone involved. This little phrase helps everybody involved to defend his/her good nature, the innate qualities and the purity of being.
In the book "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the character Aljosha represents something, which my wonderful husband Klaus chose as a model early in his teens. Whenever an insult was directed towards Aljosha, he wouldn't notice the intention to harm, unable to see others in a negative way. Aljosha, the saint, didn't see evil in anyone, anytime.
One step towards the Aljosha way is the practical step to pretend that you didn't notice it, an elegant way of self-restraint and discipline which keeps the standard of cooperation in any team. Backing up this step is prayerful listening and the willingness to be part of the solution as a peacemaker. And soon enough the heart joins in and is willing to yield to divine Love's quiet nudge.
The spiritual basis for this constructive and healing behavior in teams, families, departments, and church communities is the understanding that there is only one Mind. And a commitment to putting this understanding into action. There is a reason for siding with the good in everybody, always. This reason is the purity and innocence of man as God's image and likeness. The article "Illustrating the ethics of divine Love" by Barbara Vining illustrates this is in a great way. It is one of the articles I cherish very much. I highly recommend it. Take a look and see whether it serves as the same gold mine for you as for me.
"This doesn't sound like you." In order to become really good at being a peacemaker we might endeavor to listen to the good "sound" of everyone. Because saying or writing "this doesn't sound like you" means also, that everyone has a wonderful original "sound". Like we do too.
All this is century-old wisdom - wisdom of the ages. Paul writes in his letter to the Thessalonians about living the good life by commitment to divine Life. By striving to follow the example of Jesus Christ. In the Message, a fabulous poetic rendering of the New Testament, part of Paul's counsel sound like this:
"Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out." (I. Thessalonians 5: 15)
So whatever happens, there is a way to defend the dignity and innocence of others - and ourselves - by actively siding with divine Love's perspective of man. Sometimes this results in the simple phrase: "This doesn't sound like you." And in the best of worlds this phrase comes quickly to mind when a judgmental thought is knocking at our mental door for acceptance. And we hear ourselves say: "This doesn't sound like me."
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.