MUCH has been written and said about racism, ethnic strife, and the hatred of ``foreigners" or guest workers in certain countries. And many people acknowledge the need to overcome these feelings in order that more unity and progress may come to mankind. The question for many of us is: how to do it?
The Old Testament in the Bible speaks more than once of the need to treat people fairly, including strangers, or foreigners, in order to be in harmony with God, the source of all good. This point is made even more directly in the New Testament in Christ Jesus' teachings. He said that we are to love God first and then to love our neighbors as ourselves. That includes people who may be quite different from us culturally and socially.
Jesus' life of preaching and teaching made clear that God's message of love for man applies to everyone. Jesus' teachings show us that we are all the spiritual offspring of one divine Father who bestows His love impartially. Since our relationship with God is direct and unbreakable, each of us has full access to divine Love. Under God's government, no one can deprive you or me or anyone of what is rightfully ours as His children. And since all good comes from God, divine Love, this direct relationship wi th Him means we can trust Him to give us what we need--as any good father would.
Accepting these facts does two things. It helps to eliminate fear of loss--loss of jobs, homes, peace--that often underlies hatred of strangers. And it shows us that since we are God's children, we are members of one spiritual family. This eliminates the belief that we are strangers because it brings us into relationship with each other through our unity with God.
The Epistle to the Ephesians states this beautifully when it speaks of Christ Jesus and what he accomplished for mankind. It says, ``Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."
This concept of God's household is a spiritual fact that can help each of us deal with all people. Here is an example: The manner of a man I met seemed shifty and slick. I felt very uncomfortable in his presence. I had dealt successfully with people of diverse backgrounds, but I had never come face to face with those characteristics before.
Since I expected to have continuing contact with this man, I turned to prayer for a solution. As I did this, I remembered a major point Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, makes in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; namely, that God is the only Mind and that man is Mind's idea, or reflection. Our purpose, then, is to strive both to express this Mind and to see its effects in our lives. In one place in Science and Health Mrs. Eddy puts it this way: ``With one Father,
even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science."
I prayed, with more than a little fervor, to know that this one Mind was governing me and the situation. At my next meeting with the man, a remark I made took our conversation in a completely new direction. His manner changed. In fact, it was delightful. The result was a real ``meeting of minds," and from that time on I had no further problems working with him. In fact I enjoyed it. This is a small example, perhaps, but it taught me a valuable lesson about loving strangers by understanding that the one M ind, God, is governing all of us. And in Mind's household we are neither strangers nor foreigners but fellow-citizens of God's kingdom--joined together in His love.