Important strides have been made toward improving race relations in the United States in the 48 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. And there is certainly cause to celebrate progress made in appreciating cultural differences and diversity. But it is sadly obvious that deeply held negative feelings still divide the races. One only has to consider the frequent violence erupting between law enforcement and the black community to realize that the time has come to elevate the human race above the ignorance, injustice, fear, and hatred perpetuated by the long-held belief that we are inherently divided by skin color. There is something each of us can do—individually, and collectively—by making a decision today that Dr. King, a deeply Christian man, made. He said: “I have decided to stick with love.… hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Hatred springs from ignorance of those we don’t truly know, and from the fear that arises from the unknown—and also, of course, from injustices that have been perpetrated on innocent people. These can be burdens indeed. So, it’s time to “stick with love”—with the courage to have our ignorance, our unjust thoughts and actions, and our fears uncovered and overcome by divine Love, which forgives and heals mankind. In doing so, we can do our part in helping to lift the curse of racial prejudice from the human race.
The January 10, 1901, Sentinel published an article regarding the building of a monument to the Jewish philanthropists Baron and Baroness de Hirsch “in commemoration of the eradication of racial prejudice.” It contained a letter by Mary Baker Eddy that was later published on pages 287–289 in her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany. In it she said, “Love for mankind is the elevator of the human race; it demonstrates Truth and reflects divine Love.”
We need to let Truth inform us that as children of one common Parent, divine Love, we share inherent goodness and purity with all people.
“Love for mankind.” If that’s what it takes to elevate the human race, that’s where we need to start. It involves demonstrating Truth and reflecting divine Love, which is spiritual and unconditional—so it’s much more than a human emotion. It means elevating our thoughts above identifying one another by physical characteristics, and realizing instead that we have one common creator, who is God, divine Truth and Love, who created us as His spiritual image and likeness—one race, that has nothing to do with skin color or human heritage. This is where we begin to truly know one another, as presented in the teachings of Christ Jesus, as found in the Bible, and in Christian Science, as explained in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. But this understanding also needs to be made practical. And the first step in healing racial divides is to care enough for one another to recognize the challenges and mental wounds that have built up through time, and that pose as barriers to overcoming matter-based fears, misconceptions, and injustices.
The Christian Science Monitor’s “Daily News Briefing” on October 14, 2016, included an article titled “Police shootings on social media: Why some black people believe no one cares.” It told of a woman who was perpetually upset with reports of shootings that were going viral on social media—and that no one seemed to care. The article noted: “Her feelings speak to older traumas that those without the lived experience of black communities may fail to truly grasp … a shared experience of fearing and being feared, passed down through generations, that shapes the relationship black communities have with law enforcement today.” It also quoted Jonathan Kanter of the University of Washington in Seattle: “I don’t think many white people can really understand how terrifying this is for most black people in this country, and how this is a chronic thing that is associated deeply with identity and self and goes back through hundreds of years.” There is definitely a crying need for all of us to get to know and truly value our brothers and sisters of all colors—both spiritually and humanly—and to heal the wounds of injustice through the love that reflects the unconditional love of God.
If progress in elevating the human race seems exceedingly slow, we can take heart from this statement from Mrs. Eddy: “An improved belief is one step out of error, and aids in taking the next step and in understanding the situation in Christian Science” (Science and Health, p. 296). The situation is understood in Christian Science in proportion as we learn, through step-by-step Christly caring, how to love and value each person as a member of God’s universal family.
Christian Science places the responsibility on all who study it to put into action what they are learning about the universal truth of man made in God’s likeness. We need to let Truth inform us that as children of one common Parent, divine Love, we share inherent goodness and purity with all people. We need to open our hearts to understand what needs healing in others’ hearts and minds—to let divine Love move us to repent of unjust thoughts and actions, remove our ignorance and fears, reform our own hearts and minds, and lead us to dialogue and actions that heal. This humble approach is a living prayer that reflects the love that “worketh no ill to his neighbour” and is “the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).
All humanity is in need of being elevated above the wrongs that have been committed against the human race on the basis of material, racial differences, to that love for mankind that demonstrates Truth, is just toward everyone, reflects God’s pure love, and brings healing to the human heart. In proportion as this is done—through genuine caring and active compassion—the elevation of the human race beyond racial division and strife is accelerated.
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