The newspaper headline reads: "Moved by sympathy, Iraqi acted to spring a POW." The story is a heartwarming account of an Iraqi lawyer, Mohammed (not his real name), who found out that a US soldier, Jessica Lynch, was being held at an Iraqi hospital where he saw her being mistreated. Mohammed decided to try to save her because he couldn't stand to see her beaten. "A person is a human being regardless of nationality," he said (The Boston Globe, Apr. 4).
He walked six miles to find marines to tell them where she was. Five days later, marines stormed the building at night to rescue her. If not for his help, the marines said, they might never have been able to rescue Private Lynch. To shield Mohammed from Iraqi retribution, he and his family were spirited out of the country.
Hearing this account both moved me and made me think deeply about why someone would risk everything - including his own life - to save a person he didn't know and who was supposed to be his enemy. An act this courageous and unselfish in one way defies the logic of the human mind.
But my intuition tells me that the reason for this expression of unselfish love can only be explained spiritually - by looking to God, Love, who the Bible says created man in His image and likeness. Love created all of us to express love, to do good to others. God has designed us to look beyond ourselves, beyond our own needs, so that we can minister to one another.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: "Man is idea, the image, of Love..." ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 475). But all of the hatred in the world tries to mock this spiritual fact, deny it, and make us believe the exact opposite - that man is naturally selfish, vengeful, angry, hurtful.
The carnal mind, which the Bible calls "enmity against God," mocks good, denies its existence and its power to triumph over evil. Jesus, the greatest doer of good the world has ever known, was mocked before he was crucified.
The Bible says that the soldiers of the governor, who took him to be crucified, first "stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.... They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' " (Matt. 27:28-30). It was as if evil were saying that all of the healing and saving that Jesus did was for nothing - that it didn't matter because evil was going to snuff out his life.
But this isn't the end of the story. After being crucified, Jesus rose from the dead and proved that the power really is in God, good, and not in evil or hate.
A few weeks ago, after being criticized for the way I was doing something, my first reaction was to feel hurt by this person's remarks; then the hurt turned to anger. As I prayed, I knew that my answer was to stop reacting and to love more. I thought about what Jesus said: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:43-45).
My prayer told me to stop trying so hard to love through my own human efforts; it was clear that I couldn't do it on my own. I realized that it was God who had given me the ability to love. As I drew closer to God and felt His love for me, I let go of the anger and hurt. I felt like myself again - willing and able to love.
God has created each one of us to express His love. Like Mohammed, the Iraqi lawyer who risked his life to save another, we, too, can be willing to love wholeheartedly, for "it is God who is at work within [us], giving [us] the will and the power to achieve his purpose" (Phil. 2:13).
Peter opened his mouth,
and said, Of a truth I perceive
that God is no respecter