“Christian Science is not bravado; it’s love!”
We can never be deprived of anything good when unselfish love is uppermost in thought.
Early one morning, this gentle message came to thought while I was getting ready for the day: “Christian Science is not bravado.” Bravado is not a word I’m accustomed to using or even hearing very often. I was intrigued, and Googled its definition on my phone. This is what I found: “a bold manner or a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate.” This expanded in my thought to “Christian Science is not bravado; it’s love!”
This happened right about the time last year when the pandemic hit a new level of urgency where I reside. I thought about the fact that the qualities of flexibility, compassion, and humility would be key in silencing divisive opinions and viewpoints that might arise in the coming months. Whether for individuals, businesses, organizations, or government officials, these qualities, valued and lived, could help counter any action stemming from self-interest or bravado.
As a student of Christian Science, I took this angel message as divine guidance for the manner in which I was to behave, following Christ Jesus’ example by humbly imbibing the spirit of the Christ and expressing pure love for God and man. Christ Jesus was motivated by God’s love as he mingled with others. He was never driven by a desire for personal power, to promote a selfish agenda, or even to impress others with his healing works. He was demonstrating the Christ-power derived from the understanding of his relationship to God as His beloved Son. This equipped him with dominion in the face of challenges, but never through human willfulness.
Jesus taught his followers much through his compassion for others. He often retreated from crowds to pray so that he was prepared both to heal and to share the message of salvation with the world. He taught his followers to do the same. He never self-righteously judged others or forced his healing ministry on anyone; instead, he meekly sought to reach the receptive thought.
I saw that guarding my thought against the temptation to act in a self-assertive or self-righteous manner would be a protection from becoming irritated or impatient with my own or others’ fears that might crop up in the coming days and, in turn, result in unloving behavior. It was an opportunity to turn to God for my safety and well-being, but this would not mean disregard for national, state, and local government regulations and recommendations set in place in an effort to protect citizens and lessen the fear gripping communities.
If I was tempted to think that putting another’s concerns first could rob me of expressing courage and independence, or cause me to somehow compromise my reliance on God as the ever-present source of my health and well-being, I could silence those arguments as invalid. We can never be deprived of anything good when unselfish love is uppermost in thought.
The qualities of flexibility, compassion, and humility are key in silencing divisive opinions and viewpoints.
Recently, a historic address by Henry Drummond entitled The Greatest Thing in the World came to mind. It includes a wonderful analysis of verses 4–6 of the Apostle Paul’s discourse in First Corinthians 13, which read: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.” In his address, Drummond, like many Bible translators, uses the word love rather than charity in these verses, and he writes that there are nine ingredients in what he calls “the spectrum of love.” Each is particularly applicable to the circumstances in which we find ourselves today:
Patience Love suffereth long.
Kindness And is kind.
Generosity Love envieth not.
Humility Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
Courtesy Doth not behave itself unseemly.
Unselfishness Seeketh not her own.
Good Temper Is not easily provoked.
Guilelessness Thinketh no evil.
Sincerity Rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth.
It seemed to me that the idea “Christian Science is not bravado; it’s love” was a timely reminder to keep uppermost in thought that God is Love and to abide by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The moral and spiritual qualities of patience, kindness, humility, and so on come from divine Love and compose our divine nature as the children of our heavenly Father-Mother. As we acknowledge and yield to this divine nature, we are contributing to unity and peace in the world and expressing the love of Christ, which heals fear and sickness.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote in its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love” (p. 367). Our expression of tenderness, encouragement, and patience—for ourselves and others—will counter the temptation to indulge in self-assertive or self-righteous behavior and enable us to demonstrate God’s great love for all.
Many months have now passed since that sweet message “Christian Science is not bravado” first came to thought, but it continues to bless me and guide my steps.