TWO men stood at the edge of the sidewalk, waiting for the traffic lights to change. Glancing at a newspaper stand, one of the men commented on the fact that another hostage had been shot by airplane hijackers in a distant country. ``Who cares?'' replied the other with a shrug. Just then the lights changed, they crossed the street, and were gone. Should we care when tragedies like this are happening, especially if they don't affect our immediate friends and family? Would our deep caring do any good anyway? The answer to both questions is an emphatic yes!
Christ Jesus taught that God cares for each one of His children, and our caring for humanity is a natural reflection of God's love. Jesus said, ``Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.''1 Jesus also said that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. He told a story about a man who was attacked by a gang that mugged him, stealing everything he had and leaving him badly injured. Two of his countrymen came by but ignored the figure lying helpless beside the road. Then a third man, a stranger from an area with opposing views and practices, came along and helped him, and took him to a safe place. In spite of their differences the stranger had deep compassion for the victim.2
Our neighbor, then, as Jesus taught, can be anyone, irrespective of country, race, or religion. It is someone we should care for and love.
We're helped to see this as we realize that everyone, in his or her true selfhood, is the spiritual offspring of God, of the one creator who made man in His image. God is the Father of all, a tenderly loving, heavenly Parent. In this divine relationship all are truly brothers and sisters -- sons and daughters of God. The Bible says, ``Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?''3
Referring to a maturing concept of God, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says, ``This human sense of Deity yields to the divine sense, even as the material sense of personality yields to the incorporeal sense of God and man as the infinite Principle and infinite idea, -- as one Father with His universal family, held in the gospel of Love.''4
Through a deepening sense of this spiritual reality we see more and more the need to care for others. And one powerful way to do this is through prayer. Our deep, loving prayers can and do have a healing impact. For example, hearing of an act of terrorism, we can pray to understand that God is in control of His creation, not evil minds or forces, and that the harmonizing power of divine law is supreme. We can strive to realize that man is under God's government, in which there is neither perpetrator nor victim. These aren't simply theories, unrelated to the challenge at hand, but powerful truths. To glimpse in prayer that there really is no other power because God is All, ever-present, ever-loving, is to help those in a difficult situation to feel God's tender, protecting presence. It's to help dispel fear and promote an atmosphere in which a proper resolution can be worked out.
One day when my husband and I were at a busy international airport we had an opportunity to pray for our fellow travelers. About to embark on an overseas flight, we and the rest of the passengers were suddenly moved back to another part of the terminal. Police and dogs were everywhere, and we learned that it appeared there was a bomb on the plane next to ours. People were rushed from the danger zone, and the bomb squad moved in. As we stood waiting, we prayed. We were grateful for God's love for all. We prayerfully refuted the supposed power of evil, and we thanked God that He was the only real power. No one was hurt, and eventually we were allowed to reboard our aircraft and take off. It may seem a small experience, of little consequence. But it brought home the importance of realizing God's care, whether or not danger seems imminent.
As we care more for others, we'll feel a growing sense of God's protection ourselves and help prove for all that He is supreme.
1Luke 12:6, 7. 2See Luke 10:30-35. 3Malachi 2:10. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 576-577.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: We ought...to love one another. I John 4:11