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Seeing man as Love’s image

Reprinted from the March 13, 1948, Sentinel.

In order to comprehend an idea, it is necessary that we appreciate and understand its divine import. Ideas come from God; they express and image forth substance, which is Mind, God. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes (p. 475): “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; …”

The qualities of divine Mind are wholly spiritual. Man, the idea of Mind, is the expression of all of Mind’s qualities. Thus as the true nature of man, the compound idea of God, dawns upon human thought, we perceive that men express in ever greater degree the qualities of honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, loyalty, compassion, tenderness, thoughtfulness, consideration, strength, permanency, completeness, obedience, meekness, might, and so forth. One could not wish for a more stimulating experience than to behold in some measure the glorious and glorified man of God’s creating, the man our Leader has revealed as the expression of God’s being.

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Nowhere in the spiritual embodiment of right ideas does one find matter or a fleshly concept. Nor can the illusion of disease attach itself to or be a part of such qualities as loving-kindness and tender compassion. Love knows nothing of hatred or intolerance. Honesty is unaware of deceit, falsehood, or fraud. Integrity cannot be linked with debasement, impurity, or corruption. Trustworthiness has no relationship to faithlessness; neither has loyalty kinship with infidelity.

Compassion and tenderness are the opposites of inhumanity and mercilessness. Thoughtfulness and consideration have nothing in common with carelessness, inattention, and neglect. Strength, permanency, and completeness are not touched by weakness, frailty, or lack. Truly the Godlike qualities of obedience, meekness, and humility constitute spiritual might. These have no agreement with lawlessness, ruthlessness, arrogance, or pride. Let us refuse to associate godless qualities with man and endeavor to see him as he really is—the image of Love. Love is indeed the essence and substance of his being.

In Luke we read (6:45), “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” In other words, he who is reflecting good is loving, compassionate, thoughtful of others, generous, and charitable. Well may we heed the apostle’s admonition (Colossians 3:12, 15): “Put on … as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering …. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts.”

Man, made in the image and likeness of God, Mind, Spirit, is wholly spiritual. Every function of his being is harmonious because governed by divine Mind. The understanding of these spiritual truths heals the sick, restores what mortal mind calls lost substance, uplifts the fallen, inspires, regenerates, and saves.

A young student of Christian Science once lived beside an elderly recluse whose reputation as one difficult to get along with was well known in the community. The student shed many tears and prayed often in her effort to correct a seemingly impossible situation. Several weeks went by without a glimpse of her neighbor. But during that period she saw a doctor come and go every day.

There rose from her heart a paean of praise and gratitude to God for His infinite goodness and love.

One night the voice of Truth awakened her with these words: “Do you love your neighbor as yourself?” Immediately her thought was aroused and she saw that her duty was to express more love. Self-justification wanted to come in with the argument that her neighbor did not want to be loved, and many other excuses, but these were silenced by a genuine desire to be obedient to the voice of Truth. As she took up her copy of Science and Health, it fell open to page 88, where Mrs. Eddy tells us, “To love one’s neighbor as one’s self, is a divine idea; ….” She exclaimed aloud, “Father, show me this idea!”

During the next few hours of prayerful study there unfolded to the student’s waiting thought an ever-widening vision of the Love that is God and of man, His reflection. She saw that man is diseaseless, sinless, ageless, and deathless; that he always has existed in Love; and that he is and ever will be altogether lovely, loving, and lovable.

In the morning the student gathered flowers from her garden and took them to her neighbor. So filled was the student’s consciousness with the vision of man’s loveliness, completeness, and perfection which she had gained the night before that she felt no necessity for conversation. As she sat quietly beside her neighbor’s bedside, there rose from her heart a paean of praise and gratitude to God for His infinite goodness and love. Although her neighbor gave a detailed account of her illness and told of her inability to eat, the words fell on ears too busy listening for God’s voice to hear any note of discord.

As the student arose to go, her neighbor arose also. It was the first time in eight weeks that her feet had touched the floor. She announced that she was going to the kitchen to prepare herself something to eat. That afternoon she worked in her garden and in the evening came and sat on the porch with the Christian Scientist and her family, something she had never done before. She made no mention whatever of her illness, but, looking up at the sky, expressed her joy in the beauty of the stars and the fragrance of the flowers.

So from our hearts must ever flow
   A love that will all wrong outweigh;
Our lips must only blessings know,
   And wrath and sin shall die away.

For it is Mind’s most holy plan
   To bring the wanderer back by love;
Then let us win our brother man,
   And glorify our God above.
      (Mary A. Livermore, Christian 
   Science Hymnal, No. 163, adapt.)

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