Just as mothers feel love for their children, what if we could feel complete and unqualified love for every single person everywhere, no exceptions? Not just a momentary love, but a sincere, honest, heartfelt, substantial love? That, of course, wouldn’t mean that we would be required to accept and adore the things people do that are hurtful and selfish. No, it would mean loving as God loves us all, knowing that, through the unchallengeable, incontestable power of God’s love, anyone can ultimately be cleansed of sin with finality.
Expressing and drinking in God’s love heals and redeems as nothing else can. A proverb in the Bible says, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12). And Jesus told a crowd: “ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:43, 44).
One may read Jesus’ statement and think, “OK, but Jesus would never say something like that if he met my enemies! The anger and hatred I’m feeling this time really is justified.” Yet, Jesus illustrated his trust in the power of “love your enemies” time and time again, and this power was demonstrated best in the inspiring way he overcame one politician’s immoral indifference.
Jesus was unjustly accused, and the local governor, Pontius Pilate, went along with the accusation, which resulted in Jesus’ crucifixion (see Mark 15:1–15). Instead of being bitter, from up on the cross Jesus forgave and loved everyone involved, knowing that it was the power of God, divine Love, that would ensure his victory, including his ascension. Sentinel founder Mary Baker Eddy explains in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Hatred and its effects on the body are removed by Love” (p. 374).
Expressing and drinking in God’s love heals and redeems as nothing else can.
Is this same power—the same God, this same divine Love—present today? Yes! Jesus walked forward and through the most difficult challenge of his life on the strength of the unstoppable force of God as Love. And he taught us that we, too, can walk forward on this strength unwaveringly, knowing that God’s victory over evil is already ours.
Here comes the essential part—putting all this into practice. On some TV news stations, we get exposed to a parade of personalities, some of whom we’re encouraged to detest. A friend and I were remarking on what it feels like to join the chorus of voices complaining bitterly and angrily about people. It’s tempting! We laughed knowingly after my friend said that indulging in this could be described as momentarily “delicious.”
Christian Science commands man to master the propensities,—to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 405
“But,” he said, “there is a steep price to pay. It’s drinking from a poisoned chalice!” Yes, no doubt, to be indulging in perpetual disgust is to be swallowing big drafts of acidic hatred and raw anger. Mark Twain is usually credited with the quip, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Since hatred harms the hater more than it does the hated, we should be glad to be leaving that habit behind in order for more of God’s powerful, healing love to fill our thoughts. The concept of loving your neighbor as yourself is basic to Christianity. And we need to start with ourselves. We each need to cherish our own spiritual purity by welcoming the cleansing presence of God’s love within. We can then affirm that Love is in authority everywhere, and is operating effectively and inevitably, not only within us, but even within those whom we could categorize as enemies. Praying in this way will do so much more good than the world’s mountains of anger and hatred could ever supposedly accomplish.
If someone has made our life difficult, it may be very hard to let anger be washed away by Love. But, even if only for our own sake, we need to be willing to release and permanently drop hatred. Just think of how deeply God loves both you and that other individual. Seriously—if you can just admit that, you have found a starting point for your freedom and healing.
And if someone continues to spit out hatred toward you, you can follow Jesus’ example, basking in the unmovable, present love of God. Take refuge in it. No one has said this would always be easy, but don’t be tempted to return to hatred! If someone who is your close friend drinks from that poisonous chalice of terrible anger, calmly resist the temptation to take a sip, and be grateful that with divine Love all good is possible.
Be willing to release and permanently drop hatred.
We can watch and see for ourselves how expressing and feeling God’s love within spiritualizes thought, and is—not just momentarily, but permanently—delicious! “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” says the Bible (II Timothy 1:7). To behold God’s love reflected in everyone, without exception, is effective prayer—melting hatred and illumining the way for others to do the same.
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