`IT'S just a starling, the wildlife officer said, looking from the bird on the road to me. ``They're such a nuisance.'' Then he drove away leaving us in the middle of the road. As a bird-watcher, I knew that starlings were often considered pests, but as another car swished by us, I prayed to know what to do. From this prayer came the conviction that even a starling must have some worth. And Christ Jesus' statement about God caring even for the sparrow prompted me to help the bird. So I covered it and too k it to the side of the road, where it would be out of the traffic. It fluttered away.
This was a small incident, yet it set me thinking about a growing list of other ``nuisances'' we are told about in the news media. Children, elderly, homeless, and others are sometimes thought of as useless or a nuisance. The sight of homeless people may be frightening to us. But beneath this is a deeper layer of ignorance--one that hides from us man's real worth and value to God. This mistaken view of things leads people to believe that the world is a brutal, heartless place.
Like any mistake, this outlook needs correction. And it can be corrected because it rests on a false premise. It is ignoring the Biblical fact that God made man and that He endowed His spiritual offspring--that's you and me--with intelligence, goodness, joy, and love. When we begin to consider life from this spiritual standpoint, each individual becomes important. As Christ Jesus put it, according to Luke's Gospel, ``Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered'' (12:7). This means specifically that
we can value ourselves because we are each precious to God.
Perhaps this seems amazing, especially if we are feeling harassed and tired, or not very loved and lovable. But it is true because our lives and our nature are not tied up in matter. They are spiritual, and they come directly to us from our divine Father, who is infinite Love. Mary Baker Eddy expands on this point in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. There the Discoverer of Christian Science says, ``Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique'' (p. 475).
As we accept this accurate view of ourselves, it has a wonderful moderating effect on how we see the rest of the world. We begin to feel more hope, because we're giving up the belief that we are worthless. We will also be able to feel more loved because we're losing the fear that we are--or someday will be--too old or too ignorant or too much trouble and will get thrown away ourselves.
This change gives us much more compassion for others. It also opens our eyes to who they really are. Each individual we meet is, in truth, the spiritual child, or idea, of God. At times, outward appearances, taken alone, may make this hard to believe. But God's man ``is not physique.'' So this means we need to relate to one another from a spiritual perspective.
One way to do this is to look for moral and spiritual qualities that an individual expresses or at least has the potential to express. These might include life, order, intelligence, perseverance, joy. As we begin to see these qualities in others, we find we can no longer feel that they aren't important.
This change in our thinking is a continual process because each day we are seeing new aspects of ourselves as ``the image, of Love, and these in turn open up ways for us to see others in this way too. Individuals respond to being found precious. And as we find them to be so, we counteract the belief that anyone, anywhere is ever a nuisance or unimportant to God.