Healing “humanity’s sore heart”
Sometimes, in humanity’s efforts to progress it seems as though we are taking one step forward and two steps back. For instance, in terms of race relations, recent events in the United States indicate that we still have some way to go.
A recent conversation with a friend who is Black made me more aware of the long-term repercussions of the United States’ history of slavery, and of other issues in the world pertaining to human rights and race relations that continue to need our prayers. Acknowledging past wrongs of thought and action as well as current wrongs that need to be righted is a first step toward reconciliation and healing.
The US Declaration of Independence asserts the equality of all and that every individual is “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Through my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned that this creator is our Father-Mother God, who sees us through the lens of divine Spirit rather than that of race, class, or gender. Seeing ourselves through this same spiritual lens, we realize that we reflect spiritually all that belongs to our Maker, and therefore are all equally important and worthy.
However slowly, the world is waking up to this universal truth.
At times I have been impatient and tempted to be extremely upset when people are judged or mistreated because of their skin color. But I know that reacting in such a way doesn’t forward healing. Only God’s pure love can bring the light of harmony to racial tension and division.
Over a century ago, Mary Baker Eddy, a religious pioneer and the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote:
Love hath one race, one realm, one power.
Dear God! how great, how good Thou art
To heal humanity’s sore heart;
To probe the wound, then pour the balm—
A life perfected, strong and calm.
(Poems, p. 22)
Today, events in my country compel me to share the following experience of advertising a house for rental. Though it happened decades ago, it’s a timely illustration, however modest, of the power of God’s love “to heal humanity’s sore heart.”
Acknowledging past wrongs as well as current wrongs that need to be righted is a first step toward reconciliation and healing.
When we were newly married, my husband and I decided to buy a new house and rent the one I had been living in by myself. One day, potential renters arrived, and a Black man got out of the car and approached the house. Our neighbor, who had been speaking with me in the backyard, protested, “Not them. No—not them!”
Although upset by her comment, my husband and I went into the house to let the man in. At that point, he asked, “Is this house still for rent?” We confirmed that it was, but were confused by his question because my husband had spoken with him on the phone just a few minutes earlier. Later it dawned on us that he had most likely asked because of previous experiences of landlords telling him that a property was no longer available after finding out his race. After we told him that the house was still for rent, his Latina wife and their child also came inside, and they all loved the house. It was clear that they were responsible and considerate people, and we rented it to them on the spot.
After the family left, we told our neighbors, and we thought the husband was going to explode with anger. He and his wife said that we had ruined their lives. They had been planning to live in their present home for the rest of their lives, but now they were going to have to move. We left, feeling distraught. We knew that we had done the right thing in renting to this family, but upsetting these neighbors was distressing to us. I had lived next door to them for a year, and they had been wonderfully kind and helpful to me.
Having grown up as a student of Christian Science, it was natural for me to turn to God, divine Love, for comfort and guidance, especially during challenging situations. As I did so this time, a statement from the Christian Science textbook, written by Mrs. Eddy, came to mind: “In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all . . .” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 206). I knew that this was the case. Whenever I was tempted to think that the situation was hopeless, I found comfort in knowing that if renting our house would be a blessing for us and the renters, it must also be for our neighbors. No one could be left out of God’s goodness and love. I did not outline how things should work out but strove to keep my thinking filled with this divine truth.
Only God’s pure love can bring the light of harmony to racial tension and division.
Two weeks later, I received a phone call from the neighbors. They said that they realized they had become too rigid in their thinking and that they would not be moving. My husband and I were relieved and so grateful!
The family of three lived in our house for one year. The entire time was completely harmonious, and the neighbors spoke highly of them to us several times. After a year, this small family moved out because they were buying their own home, at which point we sold the house.
This experience showed me that prayer is effective when spiritual evidence, which comes from God, the all-knowing divine Mind, becomes more real to us than material evidence, which comes from the erring mortal, or carnal, mind and is not to be believed. The Apostle Paul said that this carnal mind is “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). By spiritual evidence I mean the fact that each one of God’s children, or ideas, reflects and is governed by the one divine Mind, which has no human opinions or prejudices and sees each of its ideas as equally valuable.
I am grateful that my friend whom I mentioned earlier has opened my eyes to the need to see this truth more clearly for our nation and the world today and to continue to strive to see ourselves and all as God sees us. To God, we have no material characteristics, but only spiritual ones, reflecting all of Love’s qualities and shining “resplendent and eternal” (see Science and Health, p. 247).
This past year, while we have seen great upheaval in the US and other parts of the world, we are also seeing signs of progress. More and more, individuals and groups are taking a stand for equality for all. For instance, in the county where my daughter lives, the elected sheriff and several police chiefs published a statement in support of this, and also set up an immigrant alliance program. My daughter recently invited six members of the Sheriff’s Department into her middle school social studies classroom to discuss a class project. She reported that having them was a fabulous experience, especially as they communicated the need for accountability and justice in government, including law enforcement.
I pray that signs of progress like this continue and that we are not disturbed or distressed by turmoil, because evil is coming to the surface of thought to be seen for what it is—nothing—as good is increasingly understood as the only reality. Mrs. Eddy refers to such a process as a necessary “moral chemicalization” impelled by divine law, which purifies human thought. She also writes: “In Isaiah we read: ‘I make peace, and create evil. I the Lord do all these things;’ but the prophet referred to divine law as stirring up the belief in evil to its utmost, when bringing it to the surface and reducing it to its common denominator, nothingness” (Science and Health, p. 540).
Rather than be alarmed by or impatient with symptoms of evil, such as racism, I am increasingly encouraged by the signs that our prayers, individually and collectively, are helping to bring it to an end.
First appeared as a Web Original on December 7, 2020