Loving and Being Loved
SOMETIMES in the daily pressure of doing all of the myriad things we have to do, we forget to think about the love that God has for us. We may feel we aren't doing enough for our families or in other areas of our lives. And maybe we could do more. But we shouldn't let the things we haven't done outweigh our certainty of being loved or blind us to the things we have accomplished. This is discouraging, and it tends to keep us from seeing what our lives are really all about. Christ Jesus best understood the nature of life and the tremendous impact that one life can have. He knew that as we understand our relationship to God, our lives are transformed. And he devoted himself to proving this spiritual fact to the world.
A profound part of our relationship to God is love. The Bible tells us that God is Love and shows us how big a difference God's love can make. To me, one of the most beautiful expressions of this love is from the prophet Jeremiah. He says, ``The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.''1
That thought of God loving me with an everlasting love has helped me more than once when I have been feeling like the last person in the world worth loving. Everlasting. What a thought! That God could love each of us always, no matter what. Nothing can separate us from this everlasting love.
But God's love, isn't a giant version of human love. To be everlasting, His love can't be petty or shortsighted or changeable. And as Jesus taught, we are inseparable from God, from divine Love. This means that as His children, it is natural for us to love each other and also to love God. In fact, as God's offspring we reflect Love because we are made in His likeness. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique.''2
This knowledge that the nature of our being is to love doesn't just help us feel better about ourselves. It actually heals us of sorrow, of sin, and of other troubles. This healing occurs because divine Love shows us that we are not mortal entities, doomed to limited, insignificant lives. Love reveals our true, spiritual nature and enables us to live in accord with it. To do this we need to pray to see that nothing can ever separate us from divine Love.
We also need to watch our thoughts and acts to be sure that we are doing our best to live in harmony with God and the good in humanity. While we might not always succeed, our efforts to live closer to Christ Jesus' example will show us that God's love for us is everlasting. Sometimes this feeling of being loved takes form as loving relationships with other people. Sometimes it doesn't. In my own life, I have had occasions when in times of loneliness or sorrow I was alone with God. And His love sustained me. At other times, I have prayed and quite unexpectedly found new friends.
The most important part of knowing God's love is to make a stronger effort to love more ourselves and to understand that this love has a spiritual, not a material basis. Then we can reach out to others in love. It is our nature to love because we are children of God. As we exercise this spiritual nature, we begin to love more spontaneously and consistently. Each step of the way we will be learning that we are indeed worthy of God's everlasting love.
1Jeremiah 31:3. 2Science and Health, p. 475.