Conquering hate

It's an awful thing to contemplate. But hate so obscures our understanding of our relationship to God that we need to face it and nullify its fatal thrusts. Have you ever considered that one of the reasons why animosity is so accepted in human life might lie in a misreading of what the Bible actually teaches? For example, how do we view all the episodes in the Bible filled with passion, hatred, and revenge? Many of the early stories even portray God as a participant in those sad human events, almost as if there might be justifiable grounds for anger and revenge under certain circumstances.

The Bible is a book of powerful struggle. It gives accounts of men and women caught up in the heights and depths of human feeling. It is a book that shows the struggle to survive, often under the most extreme circumstances. But through all of this, there's always a healing message to be found.

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, clung to the Bible as a book of survival. This was natural, because it was in turning to the spiritual teachings of this book that she felt herself rescued from death and a lifelong cycle of invalidism and heartbreak.

The Bible has a dual nature - struggle-filled human events interwoven with a profound and increasingly progressive understanding of God's universal redeeming care. That realism evoked strong counsel when Mrs. Eddy wrote about enmity and the need to abandon it. She says: ''Man's enslavement to the most relentless masters - passion, selfishness, envy, hatred, and revenge - is conquered only by a mighty struggle. Every hour of delay makes the struggle more severe.'' n1

n1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 407

Deep, progressive thinkers and doers need to face courageously what is life-destroying within their own thought, as much as they need to gain and hold to that which rescues, redeems, and restores life. To accept this dual responsibility promotes health and happiness.

Such Christian realism, together with moral resolve, is one of the great hopes and promises that Mrs. Eddy saw in the teachings of Christ Jesus. She understood this moral courage as inseparable from the bright light of physical healing that characterized the Master's ministry.

It has been said that the opposite of love may not best be defined as hate alone but rather as apathy. When we understand God more clearly as divine Love, we will be moved to plumb deeply into the moral and spiritual demands of true love. This kind of study and searching prayer serves to uncover, through divine law, the hidden compromises with hate that have been welcomed into our own thought and responses. It roots out hidden as well as known animosities, and breaks the hypnotic addiction to hate as a response to human events.

Because our genuine selfhood is God's likeness, as the Bible teaches, each one of us has an innate ability to respond to God, divine Love, and will do so as consent is withdrawn from hating. Certainly the very reading of this newspaper can be a helpful element in forwarding the mighty struggle to conquer hate. ''The object of the Monitor,'' writes Mrs. Eddy, ''is to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.'' n2

n2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353

Stories of conflict in world capitals or in our own hometowns can become waymarks to progressive thinkers, calls to deeper affection and Christian reconciliation in human affairs. Profound Christian healing is effected through the deep, unremitting expression of divine Love.

Study of the Bible from the standpoint of its spiritual meaning enables us to penetrate beyond the dark night of hurt and hate and anchor our lives deeply in a knowledge of divine Love's presence and might. Such spiritually enlightened living conquers hate.

The deep, spiritual promises of the Bible give strength for the task of facing evil, whatever form it may take. And they urge us to greater healing works, both moral and physical. The spiritual strength is there for all.

We can come to feel and be moved by an unquenchable knowledge of God's redeeming love, as shown by Christ Jesus. A spiritual pioneer wrote, ''This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.'' n3 To arrive at this understanding is to discover enduring safety and spiritual affection, which have their source in God alone. Most important, it is to find the means to meet one's fellowman on new, holy ground.

n3 I John 1:5

DAILY BIBLE VERSE By this we know that we love the children of God when we love God, and keep his commandments. I John 5:2

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