How to love someone you dislike

I ONCE heard a minister comment that to pray for someone is to love him. This is true. Any sincere prayer, even a simple petition, has the effect of deepening our love--or stirring to life a love that wasn't felt before! The implications of this fact are tremendous for the world today. Love for one another--as surely as love for God--is basic to Christ Jesus' teaching, and shows us the path out of the world's evil and despair. But this love does not isolate us from the world's problems, leaving others to struggle with them; it helps us to heal those difficulties. Jesus also told us how he expected us to love one another. He said, ``A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.'' 1 The difference in Jesus' love was rooted in the difference in his prayer. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes Jesus' humble prayers as ``deep and conscientious protests of Truth,--of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love.'' 2 In my early prayers I often struggled with resentment. Those prayers sometimes went something like this: ``Father, God, for the life of me, I don't know what You see in this person. He is insufferable, arrogant, and rude. But help me to see what You see in him to love, and I'll do my best to love him too.'' You may smile at such a prayer and wonder if it could possibly do any earthly good. But let me assure you that even these prayers helped me to feel more love for my fellowman. Almost immediately there would be some shift in my perception. I would feel a rise of compassion, sensing a whole new side to someone; I would be more sensitive to an individual's problems. I might glimpse some sweet, cherishable quality I hadn't observed before. Now, it certainly wasn't the words that brought this change of heart. But there was a desire to see and love man as Jesus did. Mrs. Eddy tells us, ``Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.'' 3 It was my desire for obedience and spiritual perception in these simple prayers that helped me glimpse something of the person's true spiritual individuality--something of the perfect m an that God made and that Jesus saw. In terms of the needs of our world, we can certainly see the vital importance of Jesus' teaching ``Love your enemies . . . and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.'' 4 If to pray for someone is to love him, then prayer is certainly basic to whatever means are pursued to bring peace to our planet. In the final analysis it is prayer that will remove enmity from the world. Mrs. Eddy prayed several times daily for mankind. I have cherished from her writing a prayer regarding enemies. It is a pearl of unselfishness. She writes, ``Each day I pray: `God bless my enemies; make them Thy friends; give them to know the joy and the peace of love.' '' 5 Isn't this what we desire for the whole world? Isn't this why we pray? 1 John 13:34. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 12. 3 Ibid., p. 1. 4 Matthew 5:44. 5 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 220. 30{et

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