Wordsworth, the English poet, touched upon a great truth when he wrote,
…You must love him, ere to you
He will seem worthy of your love.
For whether we find a fellow being lovable and interesting depends far more upon ourselves than upon the other person.
The teaching urged by Christ Jesus, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,”Matt. 19:19 is fundamental to Christianity because it demands of one that he recognize man’s inherent relationship to God as His son, and this recognition must be extended to others as well as to ourselves.
It is our concept of another that makes him seem good or bad, loving or unloving, lovable or unlovable. The Bible reveals the true nature of man, made in God’s image and likeness. To accept any other view of man not only is grossly wrong but is injurious to one’s own health and happiness. To understand man as he really is opens the way to true harmony.
Christian Science, in explaining the Bible teachings, shows one how to correct a false concept of man and to find the true concept of man, which one can love. It offers a panacea for discordant situations ranging from personal enmities to racial tensions. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded this Science, writes: “It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established.”Science and Health, p. 467
If we feel that it is impossible to get along with a person, the first step we need to take is to examine our concept of him. We usually find the difficulty to be that we cannot get along with the erroneous view which we have accepted and built up as his selfhood. If this view does not correspond with the divine ideal of true manhood, then it does not correspond with Truth and must therefore be untrue.
If a person appears to us as unhappy, uninspired, debased, or degraded, we find it difficult to love this false concept. But when we correct our view of him and behold him as the beloved child of God, we begin to see him as he really is. We find him worthy of our helpfulness and love, and our false view is corrected.
To entertain a false sense of any individual is to retard our own progress and demonstration. This is true because each one must love God and gain a complete understanding of Him in order to embody and demonstrate in his own life the qualities of God, which manifest joy, freedom, and dominion. We can love God only by expressing Godlike attributes in our daily activity.
To think of any individual as outside of God’s protective love and care and not worthy of our own affection leads us to this question asked by the Apostle John: “He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”I John 4:20
In a pamphlet entitled “No and Yes,” Mrs. Eddy counsels, “Leave the distinctions of individual character and the discriminations and guidance thereof to the Father, whose wisdom is unerring and whose love is universal.”No and Yes,p. 7, 8
From the standpoint of Christianity it would be difficult for one to justify his considering an individual, a group or a race of people as unworthy of self-respect or as not meriting opportunity to attain a true spiritual status. Individuals may have much to attain, but to prevent the attainment of a higher status or to deny one’s right to attain it is a sin against the law of justice.
True democracy develops concurrently with true Christianity, and it is futile to push against the currents of spiritual progress. If we truly love our fellowmen, we shall change our concept of them, so that they will truly seem worthy of our love.
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