Friendships that bless

How to mend a friendship, how to be a better friend, or how to find friends—these are things we can go to our Father-Mother God with in prayer. Relationships can be complicated, it seems. But we can pray about how to have more loving relationships, because God Herself is Love.

Instead of praying in an attempt to find friends, we can turn to God completely and better understand what God is. “God is love,” the Bible’s book of First John says (4:16). Therefore, Love always is, always was, and always will be. The Bible also talks about our indestructible relation to God as Her children (see, for example, Galatians 3:26), and Christ Jesus came to show the world that we live in Love’s presence and care. A clear understanding of God as Love—and of the spiritual fact that our relation to divine Love is intact—is a constant prayer that brings peace and healing to all areas of our experience, because while circumstances change, divine Love is permanent. Love loves. Love shows us that we can love and are loved. When we see that we are divinely loved, we no longer feel that we need popularity, personal validation, or the presence of others to feel OK. In prayer, a clearer view of our relation to God as Her spiritual child enables us to understand that God brings Her ideas together in ways that bless. 

A Christian Scientist I know became a single parent after his marriage ended. Parenting and full-time work consumed him, and he didn’t really have any social life. Although he wanted companionship, he only worked and came home and never did anything social. But these apparent obstacles to finding friends did not faze him. What impressed me was his thought. There was no doubt in his mind that God, as Love, is ever-present good. He knew he could expect goodness and blessings because they come from God, and God’s blessings are truly always present. 

As we look to God, the source of all—and abundant—good, thought shifts off of the material appearance of lack and onto the spiritual reality of God being always with us. We can ask God to show us more about our connection to Her as Love and how to express that, rather than praying to get or change a relationship. It’s not about fixing or maintaining different friendships; it’s about knowing our relation to God, divine Love. This prayer shifts our perspective so we witness peace and love, as well as freedom from lack or resentment.

In the case of this single dad, the prayer that he put into practice resulted not only in making new friends but also in marriage. Some of the new friendships even resulted in business opportunities. 

It’s not about fixing friendships; it’s about knowing our relation to God, divine Love. 

This prayer was not based on positive human thinking; it was quite different than just trying to will something to happen. His prayer was based on the understanding that we are at one with divine Love, and that, as children of this one infinite God, no one is left out of God’s continual blessings. This person did not accept his material circumstances as reality. He understood that divine Love is the only reality. His expectation of goodness didn’t budge from this spiritual fact. 

There’s a well-known expression: “To have a friend, you have to be a friend.” This can be applied in our practice of living more spiritually: We have to be what we want to see expressed in our experience, as explained in an article titled “Being what we wish to see expressed” by Grace Channell Wasson in the November 1958 issue of The Christian Science Journal. It’s easy to know the qualities one wants in a friend, but the most important thing is to then go out and be those qualities by expressing them. 

When expressing love, we don’t pick and choose whom we love. But it is wise to value relationships that are reciprocally loving and supportive.

Loving is one of the most important practices in Christian Science. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, emphasized to her students that love is essential to being effective spiritual healers. She is reported to have said: “Just live love—be it—love, love, love. Do not know anything but Love. Be all love” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume 1, p. 296). When we do this, we are actually yielding to Love and letting our friendship with God shine. Praying in this way, we are learning to love and to better “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18). Mrs. Eddy writes in her book No and Yes, “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection” (p. 39).

This love isn’t dependent on having another person fill a seeming lack for us; it just loves, and never outlines or gives conditions. It doesn’t choose between likes or dislikes, these people over those people, this religion over that religion, or even this political party over another one. It has nothing to do with age, personality, vocation, or location. Divine Love just loves all of its creation—and once we know this, love permeates our experience. We find love that can’t be taken away and discover relationships that bless. 

The truth is, if we are all one with God together, we must in reality all already be friends together. Seeing our union with divine Love, we are able to love both our neighbor next door and our neighbors in other areas of the world. This spiritual take on friendship is quite powerful and fulfilling, because it not only promotes loving our neighbors near and far, but it also promises a more peaceful world, embracing all in Love.

Do you think of God, divine Love, as your friend? A hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal puts it beautifully:

O Lord, I would delight in Thee, 
   And on Thy care depend; 
To Thee in every trouble flee, 
   My best, my ever Friend.
(John Ryland, No. 224)

July 27, 2020
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