When I was in about the fourth grade I tried to sell three other boys in our neighborhood on forming a new club. It would be called TNT. They took an interest until I told them the three letters stood for the goal of the club: ''Try Nice Things.'' That was the end of the club!
Trying nice things is a step toward loving our neighbor as ourselves, which, along with loving God with all our heart and soul and mind, elicited from Jesus the declaration, ''There is none other commandment greater than these.'' n1
n1 Mark 12:31.
Why is loving our neighbor so often overlooked? Why does it at times seem so hard, even an impossible thing for us to do? It doesn't appear to have been hard for Jesus. He expressed love toward the sick and sinful, toward the leper and adulteress.
How did he do it? Had he such a loving nature that he overlooked or was blind to another's errors? Wasn't it rather that his view of his neighbor was entirely different from the common view? The man Jesus looked on is easy to love, for that man is the spiritual image of God, divine Love, which is the true nature of each of us. On the other hand, the mortal view of man depicts him as both irascible and penitent, belligerent and fair, bad and good. It's understandable why loving such a vacillating so-called man would be difficult.
But there are not really two kinds of man. The Bible relates in Genesis that God made man in His, Spirit's, likeness; made him perfect and complete; and finished His spiritual work. A likeness remains as long as the original it expresses. With perfect and eternal God as man's origin, man's perfection remains.
Holding to this truth of our neighbor, realizing that his actual selfhood is God's very image, we will be patient with him. We won't excuse, but will rather see the ungodlikeness, and therefore the unreality, of his foibles. This is not overlooking them; it is confronting them with a Christly understanding of the omnipresence of God. This is the way of healing.
For example, once a man I was talking to on the telephone was angry at something I had done. Because I felt justified, the anger was returned. After hanging up, I became unsettled about my irritation and was willing to turn to divine Love's present and unopposed power for help. I realized that both of us were actually loved and loving manifestations of divine Love, God. I saw that the same Mind, Love, was uninterruptedly expressing itself in the true identity of each of us and that it was natural for us, then, to care for each other's welfare.
I stayed with these and similar thoughts intermittently for about two hours. Then the man called back. ''There was no need for my earlier call,'' he said. ''I just had my dander up.'' He asked me to forget it. We remain friends to this day.
Our neighbor includes not only the person next door but those in far-off lands, who perhaps speak different languages, and who may even live in a milieu of ferment. How can these neighbors be benefited by our spiritual love?
It is our mental yielding to God's perfect, all-governing presence that enables us to be helpful to ourselves and to others. It is the divine power, the power of the one Mind, expressed in unselfed love, that heals. Through yielding in prayer to the one Mind, we come to see, and thereby help others see, that God is the benefactor; that His loving beneficence pours out without interruption on all His children. We help prove that infinite Love does fill all human needs here and abroad.
Our holding to this truth of God and man, coupled with our living of Christly qualities -- honesty, goodness, humility, spiritual perception -- blesses others as well as ourselves. In counseling Christian Scientists to keep their minds filled with Truth and Love to ensure their safety, Mary Baker Eddy n2 adds, ''And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.''n3
n2 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 210.
As we accept the truth of god and His reflection, man, and lean on Him as the only Mind in our every experience, we will play an active role in healing the sick and the sinning. DAILY BIBLE VERSE If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. I John 4:12