ONE evening my wife and I were having supper in a restaurant, and a mother and her preschool daughter were leaving. The little girl turned back and said, directing her words to an employee whose reaction indicated surprise, and loud enough so that everyone present could hear and feel included: ``Goodbye. I love you.'' How free from inhibitions children are! And how refreshingly more meaningful such a remark than the often heard clichs, ``Have a good day,'' ``Have a good evening,'' ``Have a good weekend.'' Don't all of us need to feel more of the pure, genuine love that expresses something of God's love for man?
It's essential to feel loved and to express love toward others -- not in verbal declarations lacking the substance of action, but in the way that Christ Jesus taught: ``A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.''1
Doesn't this call for more than just a feeling that everyone should love everyone else on a human level? Doesn't it call for more than simply appreciating and respecting one another -- desirable as this may be? Instead, it calls more meaningfully for the higher animus of a Christlike love -- the sort of love Jesus embodied, which recognizes the spiritual worth and identity of another where human frailty and limitation might appear to a less perceptive view.
It is recorded in Scripture that ``God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.''2 Just how consistently we entertain this spiritual fact in our thought of ourselves and others is very much expressed in our actions, our appearances, even our lives.
The teachings of Christian Science, rooted in the Bible, point to the subjective nature of experience, to the fact that what we think largely governs what we are and do. What we hold in thought determines very much our day-to-day lives and relationships in much the same way that what goes on an artist's canvas is primarily the outpouring of his thought as he wields his brush and palette.
When we entertain Godlike, Godoriented thoughts of ourselves and others, not only will we think lovingly and kindly of them, but we will conduct ourselves toward them in the same manner. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has observed: ``Christ Jesus saith, `A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you.' It is obvious that he called his disciples' special attention to his new commandment. And wherefore? Because it emphasizes the apostle's declaration, `God is Love,' -- it elucidates Christianity, illustrates God, and man as His likeness, and commands man to love as Jesus loved.''3
A bed of flowers grows more richly beautiful when well cultivated and nourished and watered. So too does the human heart when it perceives that it is loved and when it can evince love -- not love of self or of personal grandeur or prestige or wealth or social standing or place or power, but love for God and His family of man created in His likeness. As our love is spiritualized, our point of view will take on diviner hues, and we will more clearly discern the higher, spiritual natures of all around us.
When this divinely endowed perception exalts our affection for mankind -- not only in the recesses of our homes but in the recesses of our hearts and minds; not only when we are withdrawn from the elbowing of the crowd but during that elbowing -- then those about us will progressively feel that conscious love we harbor for all mankind.
Whether or not we express our affection audibly, we can deeply cultivate within ourselves a higher love of the spiritual selfhood of man in God's likeness and see that this spiritual individuality is the real identity of everyone, even if unseen to a superficial, materialistic view of man.
Through our higher concept of man others will feel that we really do notice them, appreciate them, respect them, recognize in them their importance and beauty as children of God.
1John 13:34. 2Genesis 1:26. 3Message to The Mother Church for 1902, pp. 7-8.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8