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The healing power of unselfed love

From the March 30, 2015 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

The first chapter of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, begins with this sentence: “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,—a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love” (p. 1). That sentence contains important components for redemption and healing, ones that should not be ignored. An unselfed love is one such essential ingredient. Spiritual love is what opens our thought to man’s spiritual perfection and the divine power that heals.

When there seems to be resistance to healing, it often comes in the form of self: “I’m not good enough,” “I don’t know enough,” “I’m too busy,” “I’m too proud,” “I’m too discouraged,” “I’m too old and tired,” “I’m not a good example.” These are all very self-focused thoughts.

We need quiet, sincere communion with God, to really listen to what Spirit is telling us about ourselves. 

So, how do we unself our love and perceive spiritually God’s harmonious creation—a perception that brings healing? Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Hold in yourselves the true sense of harmony, and this sense will harmonize, unify, and unself you” (Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p. 11). Mrs. Eddy’s words were addressed to a large group of people, but I have found this statement so helpful individually as well. To the degree that we hold steadfastly to the true view of God’s harmonious creation, our view of others is unselfed, our thoughts are unified within a more selfless purpose, and every facet of our experience is harmonized. 

Christ Jesus taught us much about unselfed love, through his understanding and demonstration of his oneness with God. He said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: … I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). 

He said that the greatest love is laying down one’s life for one’s friends (see John 15:13). And toward the end of his career, through the crucifixion, he showed that he was willing to lay down his own mortal life. As a result of his supreme obedience to God, he proved that Life is God and cannot be destroyed. And humanity could then see that the restorative power of the Christ could be demonstrated not only in healing sin and disease but also in conquering death. 

If we wish to follow Jesus’ example and heal, we need to lay down our own sense of a mortal life. Not literally, but we need to let go of a materialistic, mortal view of ourselves. To do this, we need quiet, sincere communion with God, to really listen to what Spirit is telling us about ourselves—to understand God’s view of who we are, made in divine Love’s likeness. 

Surrendering false, material concepts about our identity, and walking in the new, loving light we have received, requires abandoning self-centered habits, and releasing a sense of personal ego and mortal-based personality, in exchange for a spiritual transformation that brings joy, freshness, unselfishness, and redemption to our lives. Then we know our pure nature as God knows us.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
John 15:9

Healing happens in proportion as we let go of mortal selfhood and embrace our true spiritual selfhood. Science and Health clarifies, “The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship” (p. 316). Understanding the true, harmonious nature of our being requires us to lose sight of a sick or sinful mortal and to see Christ, the real man, and everyone’s Christliness as the loved sons and daughters of God. This involves letting go of self-will, with its limited, mortal perspective and selfish motives, and waking up to our inseparability from God, from Love itself. This awakening enables us to realize that our real selfhood is spiritual and immortal—the reflection of God, the Christ ideal.

What one truly sees is manifested in one’s experiences. And through unselfed love, we reflect divine Love’s seeing, perceiving loveliness all around, and that has a healing effect. It’s important to fully expect and accept that our Christly view, our correct view of man, will reveal harmony.

A few years ago, I came home one night from a short evening out, and I found several messages on my voice mail from a friend, persistently requesting prayerful help. She sounded a bit incoherent on the messages, and it seemed she was suffering considerably. I immediately affirmed that there is no emergency in the all-knowing, divine Mind, because Mind is ever present, always meeting man’s needs. 

I called her back and shared a few thoughts with her regarding her complete, perfect nature as God’s loved daughter. Then I hung up and began to give Christian Science treatment. About an hour later, her husband called me and said there was a need for continued treatment. I assured him that I would keep on prayerfully supporting her.

After hanging up the phone that time, I turned wholeheartedly to God—the very source of the spiritual ideas we seek in our prayer. I held to a strong statement by Mrs. Eddy: “No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 277). 

We reflect divine Love’s seeing, perceiving loveliness all around.

I knew there was a need to eliminate fear. As I prayed, a strong intuition came to me to get in my car and drive to my friend’s house in a neighboring town. By this time it was about midnight, but I obediently got in my car and drove to my friend’s house. Her husband met me at the door and was grateful to welcome me inside. Together the three of us continued to pray, occasionally singing hymns to find comfort. At several times it appeared my friend was about to lose consciousness. But each time clear healing messages came to my thought to voice aloud, which I did, and she always remained conscious. 

This prayerful work went on for a couple of hours until all of us came to feel a sense of harmony. When I was confident that peace and health were fully established, I returned home.

My friend called me the next day to report that all was well, and she expressed such gratitude for this complete healing and proof of God’s loving care. She especially thanked me for coming over to her house, and she said that it had been an enormous help, a turning point for her. With my arrival, her fear had lessened, and progress had ensued.  

I usually don’t feel a need to go to a patient’s house, but in this case I was obedient to this leading; and unselfed love helped bring healing. Whatever the situation may be, it is always the presence of the Christ, not a personal presence, that removes fear and establishes health and harmony. The Christ reveals and radiates the presence of God, divine Love, to us, because Christ is the grace of God made known to us. This Christ presence is with everyone, everywhere, blessing each one of us, and we are always able to know this presence.

Because the true identity of each of us is the reflection of divine Love, every individual has the reflected ability to demonstrate the pure, unselfed love that comforts, redeems, and heals. As a loved hymn says:

God is Mind and holy thought is sending;
   Man, His image, hears His voice.
Every heart may understand His 
   In His kindness may rejoice.
Lo, He speaks, all condemnation ending,
Every true desire with Love’s will 
   Losing self, in Him we find
   Joy, health, hope, for all mankind. 
(Based on the Dutch of Abraham Rutgers, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 73)

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