HOW we think determines how we act. And no one has thought better, and acted better, than Christ Jesus. How did Jesus think? He thought compassionately. He didn't hesitate to rebuke when a rebuke was needed, but his thinking was always compassionate.
Even when he was being nailed to a cross, he thought compassionately. In prayer he asked God's forgiveness for the people crucifying him.
He thought, too, of his mother and provided for her care. Doesn't such an action stem from a love that understands humanity's needs and compassionately cares for them? Jesus understood the spiritual nature of God and man, and healed on that basis. But he understood, also, the nature of human life as seen through the eyes of ordinary people. He thought and cared about people.
Today, you and I are being compelled to think and care more deeply about people. The horrifying pictures we see on television compel us to think. But how should we think? Shouldn't we be learning to think with the spiritually based compassion that doesn't ignore, but overcomes, sin?
For those of us who yearn for a better way to solve problems, Jesus' compassionate example is invaluable. Nevertheless the Master's demonstration of compassionate thinking makes demands on us. His compassion didn't allow people who were being deliberately cruel to go unchecked. His love didn't ignore the need to challenge and destroy hatred.
I found the explanation of Christ Jesus' unwavering love in a book called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist. One sentence, in particular, stood out. It said, ``Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals'' (p. 13). I'd already learned from the Bible that God is Love--absolute Love. I knew, too, that man is made in God's likeness. But it was that statement that really made plain to me Jesus' standpoint.
Because God is Love, and God's love is impartial, it's natural for you and me, and everyone else--as God's likeness--to love without bias or limitation. ``Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?'' the Bible asks in Malachi (2:10).
On this God-established basis, it is possible for us to love even those who are hating, because God, divine Love, is all-power, and understanding this washes away hatred and its effects. To be truly compassionate, we need to take practical action based on listening in prayer to God's guidance. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes: ``In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error,-- self-will, self-justification, and self-love,--which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death'' (p. 242).
Jesus' living example of how to love impartially and unselfishly is, for each of us, the perfect model. In our homes, churches, and local communities are people who need our love. In every land and nation are fellow human beings needing food, clothing, shelter, and a stable and peaceful environment in which to live. By learning to think and act with compassion, like Jesus--with the love of God in our hearts--you and I can see how to work constructively to solve these problems. And our individual efforts can do much to alleviate mankind's sorrows and help make our world a happier place for all.