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Take another look

From the September 12, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

One morning, as the school day began, a new girl slipped into our classroom. Her name was Rosie, and she was tall, with olive skin and gray eyes. Like Jack, who had red hair and freckles, she didn’t look the same as most of the rest of us. So my friends and I started teasing her.

But there was someone who saw Rosie differently from the way we did. My mom noticed Rosie and told me she could see Rosie’s beauty. Imagine my surprise! But my mother was an artist, so I trusted her word about beauty.

Paper doll (blue)

My mom’s comment also woke me up. I realized that I needed to start seeing things differently by getting beyond what I was seeing with my eyes. I needed to see Rosie differently, and I needed to see myself differently. I needed to see both of us more spiritually.

In the Christian Science Sunday School, I’d learned many verses from the Bible that steered me in the right direction. So as I prayed and asked God to help me, I wasn’t surprised when this passage came to mind with new meaning: “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (I Corinthians 13:11, New Living Translation). This verse helped me see that I needed to take responsibility for my actions and be willing to change. I could do this by listening to what God was telling me about the other kids in my class.

Next I thought about the Ninth Commandment. It says we should not bear false witness against others (see Exodus 20:16). That means don’t make up stuff about people. Wouldn’t that also mean not making fun of others? Hair, eye, and skin color, how we walk and talk, don’t define who we really are. And truly, we are God’s children, His ideas. Not material, but wholly spiritual. So what really defines us are our qualities, such as love, kindness, gentleness, and joy. We don’t see these qualities with our eyes, but we can feel them in our hearts because they are real, spiritual, and eternal. God is their source, and He expresses them individually and beautifully in each of His ideas.

Paper doll (red)

Bearing true witness means seeing others as God’s good children. What God is, His children are by reflection. So the child of Truth is honest. The child of Love is merciful and giving. Soul’s child expresses beauty and delight.

I saw that I could help all my classmates by replacing my surface view of each of them with the facts of Spirit. This would help me see them as God was seeing them.

But what about seeing myself as God was seeing me? I knew I needed to do that, too, but I felt guilty after the way I’d acted. That’s when this passage cheered and softened my heart: “Love has good manners” (I Corinthians 13:5, J. B. Phillips, The New Testament in Modern English). That verse reminded me that God made me to be unselfish and loving. So I reflected goodness! It was part of me. The more I saw myself that way, the easier it was to act that way, too.

I made up my mind to start being a true witness. What happened next? It took courage, but I told my friends about seeing Rosie in a new way. We agreed to invite her to join us at lunch and recess. The meanness stopped. Friendships grew.

What a happy ending to a story with a bumpy start! That year, I not only learned to be kinder to my classmates, but I also learned how important it is not to judge by what I’m seeing with my eyes. God helps us take another look and see who others really are.

— Lisa Andrews—Staff

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