Christ Jesus said, ''Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'' n1 What a vital command for all of us! Our expression of love, when it reflects the pure Love that is God, is a powerful force for good. Hate, on the other hand, even in a mild degree, can only result in discord.
n1 Matthew 22:39.
Several years ago I had a convincing proof of the beneficial effects of replacing hate for my neighbor with love. A longtime friend suddenly did something so selfish, so thoughtless, that I was stunned by her actions and filled with indignation. I spent the entire day having imaginary conversations with her, pointing out all the nice things I had done for her, and telling her in an increasingly cutting manner just what I thought of her actions.
That night I realized that I had actually enjoyed hating, wallowing in hurt feelings and self-pity. As a Christian Scientist, I knew that I had to stop hating and start loving right there and then. I had to do the best possible job of emulating Christ Jesus.
I stopped dwelling on this one unkind act of my friend and started remembering all her kindnesses through the years of our friendship. I realized that if the situation were reversed, I would hope she would forgive and forget. I further saw the importance of not letting evil-inspired hate obstruct my view of her true, loving, lovable individuality. Man, as created by God, who is primal Love itself, has to express God's nature. A loving God could not create an image of Himself who was unloving. Like has to produce like.
I thought along these lines for several hours. Sometimes I found myself backtracking to thoughts of righteous in-dignation, but I firmly turned each time to the true, spiritual view of my friend. Finally I felt at peace and went to sleep. The next morning the sense of hating was completely gone. It was as if the unpleasant incident had never happened. Our friendship continued intact, and in the intervening years there has been no sign of selfishness or thoughtlessness.
For a restored friendship alone I would be most grateful; but that wasn't the end of the healing. Some time before this a small growth had developed on my face and had rapidly become larger. I prayed about the situation but had no results until the morning after my successful struggle to replace hate with love. That morning the growth simply fell off when I washed my face. Replacing in my thinking the impurity of hate with the purity of love had destroyed the appearance of impurity on my body.
I thought of something Mary Baker Eddy n2 - who had much experience meeting the hatred of others with an unwavering love - writes in the Christian Science textbook: ''In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, - self-will, self-justification, and self-love, - which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.'' n3 The ''universal solvent of Love'' had certainly been effective in my life.
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 242.
Loving is surely more enjoyable than hating. But more important, it is a powerful force for good, not only in our lives but in the world as a whole. Each day is an opportunity to be more faithful to the Biblical command to love.
Try making a fresh commitment in this direction. Then see the healing results. DAILY BIBLE VERSE If ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. . . Love ye your enemies, and do good. . . Be ye . . . merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Luke 6:32, 35, 36