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Refuse to react

From the August 2003 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Many years ago when I lived in New Zealand, I was in charge of a vehicle servicing organization and a fuel supplier. One client owned a fleet of trucks. This was a very large account, and one that was important to the business. The client, however, was considered very difficult to deal with. Many in the business community felt that he actually relished fighting.

One day, he came to complain about the employees in the business and many other matters. He poured out torrents of criticism, speaking very aggressively and unkindly. Well, I really love God and humanity, so I tried not to react to his words but remained quiet, thinking about ideas from the Bible. One idea that was especially meaningful to me at that time was the message from Luke's Gospel that heralded the birth of Jesus. In part, it says, "On earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14.

I let this idea of peace guide me to feel love, forgiveness, and understanding toward him. It enabled me to refuse to get into an argument, which is what he wanted me to do. When my client finally stopped complaining—after some minutes of going on and on—he looked at me and said more kindly, "I can't argue with you, Hill." The matter was taken no further, because there wasn't really any problem to deal with. We retained his account, which was quite an achievement because he had moved many times from one firm to another as a result of arguments or differences of opinion.

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