NOT too long ago there was a photograph in the Monitor of a soldier who had found a quiet moment to play with his small son. It was a poignant reminder of how much more natural it is for a father to hold his child than a gun. It is our right to love. And every circumstance like the foregoing hints at this. It is a right that is given to us by God. Through understanding God as Love itself, as the Bible describes Him, and man's relation to God, we come to see that this right can't be taken away from us. It includes expressing love ourselves and seeing it expressed.
But, oh, how persistently we're pressed to believe that love can be abused, withheld, or worse yet, that we can of our own free will neglect it! How often we're tempted to agree that our boss is domineering; that our spouse is uncaring; that all those drivers in rush-hour traffic are naturally obnoxious. All of this may at first glance appear to be the case. But the fact remains that God made man to love! It is our most sublime ability.
What, then, seems to hide that from our view? Perhaps the assumption that love is a variable condition of human nature and that man himself is a victimized mortal, subject to a whole range of conditions that compel him to be unloving. But man is infinitely more than that because he's the very outcome of God. This is what each of us really is, though it may seem at times quite far from the reality.
The fact of the matter is, our ability to love is not the product of human circumstances, conditioning, or education. What we truly know and express of love is given to us by God. ``Ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another,''1 St. Paul once said. And this points to the truth that man as God made him is the likeness of Love itself.
To prove this requires not overlooking, but taking a new look at, what appears to be confronting us. It requires hearing from God how He is actually causing love to be expressed right where we are, since God, Love, is everywhere. And while it may take persistence, we can always prove, at least to some degree, that what God is telling us is true.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, reasons: ``Since God is Love, and infinite, why should mortals conceive of a law, propound a question, formulate a doctrine, or speculate on the existence of anything which is an antipode of infinite Love and the manifestation thereof?''2 And she asks rhetorically, ``Is it necessary to say that the likeness of God, Spirit, is spiritual, and the likeness of Love is loving?''3 This understanding equips us with the ability to free ourselves from the imposition of hatred.
When I was in college I was working on a project that involved visiting a famous cathedral. I had climbed an observation tower to get a better look at the building. When I got to the top, I realized that two men had followed me up the tower and had then blocked the stairs. The tone of their voices was alarming, and I fervently turned to God for help. After a few moments one of the men suddenly said to me, ``Do you love me?'' As I replied, I was aware of the fact that my words were impelled by God. (Since that time, I have come to understand that the words were evidence of the presence of divine Love, which unconditionally cares for us all.) ``Of course I love you,'' I replied. ``We're supposed to love everyone, aren't we?'' In a calmed voice, the man said ``Yes,'' and he let me leave unharmed.
We are never without the opportunity or the ability to love. While life's trials press us to believe otherwise, we can prove, by humbly and earnestly turning to God, that man's true selfhood naturally expresses love. It is how God is causing us to be. Christ Jesus instructed, and promised, ``Love your enemies,... that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.''4
1I Thessalonians 4:9. 2Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 5. 3Ibid., p. 8. 4Matthew 5:44, 45. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is prefected in us. I John 4:12