For many years I found myself confused about something Christ Jesus said in the Bible that seemed to be teaching his followers to agree with their enemies. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs his listeners, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him” (Matthew 5:25). However, I have since come to understand that to “agree” in this context can mean to reach an understanding, or cease to argue. This is different than yielding to a foe or letting the opposition have their way.
In biblical times, if two parties disagreed about something, they would travel long distances to visit a judge who would decide the case. During the journey, these parties would often eat and lodge together for days, since they would be traveling along the same road at the same time. After spending so much time together, they would often reach a point of mutual amicability, cease the journey, and return home without actually needing to visit the judge. This act of “agreement” would not necessarily have implied that the parties compromised, or that one gave in to the other. Rather, it just meant they realized they didn’t need to argue.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, saw that this instruction of Jesus could be applied to healing disease. She wrote, “ ‘Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.’ Suffer no claim of sin or of sickness to grow upon the thought. Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 390).