Shakespeare once wrote, ''There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.'' N1 It's true that what seems good to one person may seem just the opposite to another - because of their individual viewpoints.
n1 Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2
Take household chores, for example. I used to marvel at people who didn't mind doing the dishes or making beds. I also would conveniently allow them to go ahead, without offering any help. Especially when guests came, I didn't like to give up any of my enjoyment with our friends to help out in the kitchen. On the rare occasions when I did help, I would grumble and feel like a martyr.
Since then, though, I've had experiences that are exactly the reverse. I'm now actually able to do dishes and make the bed without resentment or reluctance , but with joy instead. What changed? Certainly not the dishes or the blankets. But my thinking changed. It shifted from a self-centered to a more God-centered basis, and I gradually gained an appreciation of unselfed love.
This did not happen all at once. It took quite a bit of patience and persistence and a conscious prayerful effort to sacrifice what I saw as my own desires in order to help others. But as I began to admire and learn the value of true meekness, I found a new sense of fulfillment and joyful service. Divine service.
Christian Science, in accord with the Bible, teaches that God created man in His own image, as His expression. In the Scriptures we also learn that God is Spirit, Love. Therefore, man's true nature expresses spiritual love. But to realize this requires genuine humbleness and a willingness to subjugate human will to God's will.
Christ Jesus, the most perfect representative of God the world has ever seen, replied to a questioner that ''the great commandment'' is: ''Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.'' And he said, ''The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'' N2
How do we do this? By exercising our innate spiritual sense. As the creation of God, we have, inherent in our being, a love for spiritual goodness. When we pause and prayerfully listen to God for the right answer, we are naturally drawn away from selfishness or laziness to embrace the pure, honest thoughts we receive from God. And when we follow through and obey those thoughts, we find ourselves happier than before. This is really our divinely bestowed spiritual perception at work.
n1 Matthew 22:36, 37, 39
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ''Spiritual perception brings out the possibilities of being, destroys reliance on aught but God, and so makes man the image of his Maker in deed and in truth.'' N3
Here is why something as seemingly unappealing as washing a load of dishes needn't be drudgery. When we express helpfulness and a loving awareness of others' needs, we are obeying the spirit of Jesus' teachings. We're reflecting the divine nature, being who we really are as God's offspring, and this alone confers happiness. So we don't need to think of washing dishes or any other routine activity as an awful chore, but rather as an opportunity to express our true goodness from God. And the rewards that we receive from expressing this goodness will thoroughly convince us of the virtues in being selfless.
n1 Science and Health, p. 203
This spiritual way of thinking can be applied to all areas of our lives. The more we use our spiritual sense and express unselfed love, the more we will happily experience the blessings that God constantly bestows on man - and the farther along we'll be on the road to salvation. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves.... Use hospitality one to another without grudging.... If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. I Peter 4:8, 9, 11