Let's Love Our Enemies
Christly compassion and universal love for all mankind impelled Mrs. Eddy to pray daily, "'God bless my enemies; make them Thy friends; give them to know the joy and the peace of love.'" The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 220; Such consciousness of divine Love empowers us daily to evidence the omnipresence of good by expressing kindness, consideration, patience, generosity, and forgiveness. Willingness to share blessings with others, regardless of who they are or what they may have done, represents a yielding of human will and opinions, which otherwise might ignorantly claim the privilege of judging and even of punishing those who may have offended or hurt one, whether deliberately or not.
What enables us to love our enemies is the fact that, from a spiritual standpoint, we have no enemies. If we think someone is hindering our success or depriving us of health, happiness, or the necessities of life, we are believing that man is an instrument of evil. This false belief is our sole enemy. Only the belief in evil as real or personal permits an individual to seem to be either its instrument or its victim. And this erroneous concept destroys itself by bringing into the believer's experience the suffering that will eventually force him to relinquish his belief in evil.
To be willing to turn the other cheek, as the Master taught, to be able to forgive without demanding restitution, to refrain from retaliation of any sort, may seem unthinkable to one schooled in the theory of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth." Matt. 5:38; But wisdom and compassionate obedience to God, good, require that the spirit of the Golden Rule guide all our actions. Practicing this rule can result only in blessings for all concerned.
Both the law and the gospel are necessary to Christianly scientific living. For instance, strict obedience to the letter of the Ten Commandments without the spirit of the Golden Rule actuating this obedience ceases to be Christian Science. No matter how much one has been wronged, no matter what it may cost to forgive and forget, the reward for loving one's enemies surpasses anything the world can offer as compensation. We gain this reward through willingness to acknowledge that we have gained a necessary spiritual lesson from the experience and that the real man is the likeness of God. Whatever uplifts an individual's thought, releasing him from condemnation or fear of his brother, indicates the blessing activity of divine Love at work in human consciousness.
When Christ Jesus spoke to his disciples of what he must suffer to prove for mankind the nothingness of human will and death, Peter rebuked him, saying this would not be. The Master replied, "Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." 16:23; In this stern denunciation of mankind's resistance to processes necessary for their purification, Jesus emphasized his Christly mission. And he provided men with the inspiration to endure all things for the sake of establishing their individual divine sonship.
Since the self-satisfied or self-righteous mortal often is sharply awakened through suffering, he can actually be grateful to the person who causes the suffering. If love motivates the actions of the individual who seems to be instrumental to one's painful awakening, a blessing can be shared by both. If selfish or vengeful motives impel the other's acts, these defects of character will eventually force the persecutor to suffer and reform. Meanwhile the one persecuted is blessed in proportion to his willingness to see his neighbor only as an instrument of good, promoting his spiritual growth, and to see him in truth as a perfect idea of divine Mind.
The one who acknowledges good as the only power finds that a painful trial fades before his rising thought. But the one who is yet bound by the false belief that man can act independently of his Maker may suffer severely until he finally yields to God's allness. It was the need for this yielding that brought the Christ, God's true idea, into human experience through the man Jesus. He himself had no need to be convinced of the allness of God. But the human need for enlightenment was met by his selfless love. He suffered on the cross and rose from the grave to prove the futility of evil efforts to destroy the image and likeness of God by claiming a power apart from God.
Never was one less deserving of persecution than the Master. Yet during the cruel trial of crucifixion he prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34; He readily forgave those who ignorantly lent themselves as instruments of evil, but he could not save them from future suffering for their malice. Although Jesus had rebuked the Pharisees severely, he could not change the pattern of their lives. Only when a mistake is self-seen can it be properly corrected. The self-satisfied mortal must arrive at self-examination through the trials that promote his spiritual progress.
All Jesus' teachings are based on love for God and for man as His child. Therefore he always preached that evil be overcome with good. To do so, one responds with love to hateful, harmful acts and intents and is ready always to help and heal where malice seeks to destroy. In her inspiring article "Love Your Enemies" Mrs. Eddy writes, "We must love our enemies in all the manifestations wherein and whereby we love our friends; must even try not to expose their faults, but to do them good whenever opportunity occurs." Miscellaneous Writings, p. 11;
Because Christian Science can be correctly demonstrated only on the basis of the allness of God and the nothingness of evil, alias matter, we sometimes need to be reminded that we are obedient only when we act from this scientific standpoint. Mrs. Eddy foresaw the need to guard against the worldly belief that evil must always be opposed as a personal power. She writes, "The notion that one is covering iniquity by asserting its nothingness, is a fault of zealots, who, like Peter, sleep when the Watcher bids them watch, and when the hour of trial comes would cut off somebody's ears." p. 335 .
Let us heal and bless our enemies through loving compassion, both recognizing their contribution to our spiritual progress and acknowledging their divine sonship in spite of contrary physical sense testimony. We thereby perform the works that Jesus knew were necessary to the complete salvation of all mankind, individually and collectively.