For me, being a Christian Scientist is about lots of things, but a key one is love. Sometimes, though, negative judgments about others can get in the way.
The high school I attended was a wonderful place where I had a great, close group of friends, as well as friendly relationships with the other students. However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that many of the students at the school were judgmental.
It occurred to me that one of the reasons I was feeling that my classmates were judgmental was that I was also judging some of them.
I really didn’t like this feeling, so the summer before my senior year, I decided to pray about it. As I was praying, I had a surprising realization. It occurred to me that one of the reasons I was feeling that my classmates were judgmental was that I was also judging some of them. This totally woke me up, and I began praying in a new way. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love” (p. 113). I realized that if I wanted to stop the judgment, I needed to love everyone in my senior class unconditionally and see them only as God sees them: as perfect and completely good. I started praying with these ideas and looking for the good qualities that each person expressed. I let go of rumors, past incidents, preconceived judgments, and anything else that would cloud my perception of my classmates. Instead, I just loved freely.
When I returned to school for my senior year, the dynamics in my senior class had completely changed. As the school year began, a number of disruptive social challenges were resolved, and new friendships and respect developed. As classmates, we gained a better, stronger bond, and were able to work together harmoniously on several major projects.
This experience helped me get an even clearer sense of what it means to freely love one another through reflecting divine Love. For me, one thing that sets Christian Science apart is the type of love it teaches. The love that Christ Jesus taught, and that we strive to express as Christian Scientists, is pure and spiritual. It enables us to see past personality or bad character traits to the real nature of each individual as the son or daughter of God. This experience showed me that this love is healing. In fact, I’ve learned that healing often begins with loving the people in my life with this pure, spiritual love—and with seeing the source of this love as God, divine Love.
When we’re loving like this and allowing divine Love to be the center and source of our thoughts and actions, there isn’t any room for judging others. How can such judgment enter into the picture if healing love is at the forefront of our thought?
Genuine Christian Science lifts us out of negative judgments by showing us how to be a transparency for divine Love.
Of course, loving this way isn’t something we learn overnight. It’s something I’m constantly discovering more about and growing in. And that’s something else that I love so much about Christian Science. One of the words we often hear in association with Christian Science is practice. That’s encouraging, because it means we’re all growing together. We’re each practicing how to live this kind of pure, spiritual love that sees the perfect child of God in everyone we meet. And we get to keep practicing it in situations where we might find it easier to judge than to love.
Religion often gets a bad rap for being “judgmental.” However, one of the reasons I’m a Christian Scientist is that genuine Christian Science lifts us out of negative judgments by showing us how to be a transparency for divine Love. And it’s only natural for that healing love to shine through and touch everyone we meet.