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From the June 26, 2000 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

When I was in grade school and then in college I wasn't completely happy. The students in the class didn't want to be friends with me, and worse, they acted like enemies. They wouldn't talk to me. The last years of college went better. I had some friends, but these were only superficial friendships.

The situation changed when I began to understand that I needed to love my friends instead of putting the accent on my personal needs. So I started each day by thinking, "Who can I help today? Who can I comfort by expressing love?"

I understood that even if certain philosophies argue that we are solitary beings, we're really always one with God. God is our best friend. Consequently, we can never be alone. The stronger our friendship with God is, the better we can love our fellow men and women.

The more I thought this way, the more friends I had. Also, I lost the fear of taking the first step toward making friends with someone.

The Bible explains who we are from the spiritual point of view. Adopting this point of view, we find our problems start to resolve. The "Glossary" of Science and Health states that each of us is "the spiritual image and likeness of God" (p. 591). So we can't really be bad, timid, uncertain. We have all the qualities God gives us, such as perception, intelligence, and intuition. We are not powerless beings who don't know how to communicate. God, our Father-Mother, is always with His children. He will never lose track of us. Something that helped me a lot is this passage from Science and Health: "Would existence without personal friends be to you a blank? Then the time will come when you will be solitary, left without sympathy; but this seeming vacuum is already filled with divine Love" (p. 266). "Divine Love" is God.

My friend (a guy) and I had many misunderstandings and even some fights. We tried to understand each other and explain why we didn't like the way the other was acting. But the more we talked, the worse the situation got. I felt desperate. I was afraid this was the end of our friendship.

It was only in studying Christian Science that I understood it is impossible to have misunderstandings when we let God guide us. Neither my friend nor I was made to have disagreeable character traits.

Nor to be incapable of understanding each other. The Bible says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift ... cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). These "perfect gifts" are the qualities that each of God's children has: patience, joy, love, tenderness. To the extent that we fill our thinking with these qualities, thoughts of meanness, jealousy, and hatred disappear naturally.

Each time my friend and I were not agreeing, I thought of this. The day I concentrated most on the spiritual qualities of my friend, rather than on my own irritation, the situation changed without my having to say anything. The fights ceased and I saw my friend expressing those spiritual qualities. I felt I knew him better.

We are now engaged. And I understand now that our real identity has its origin in God.

Reprinted from The Herald of Christian Science

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