The True Measure of Love

The only love we have to love with is the very love of God, which we cannot measure.

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

'HOW much do you love me?'' ''Is it as much as I love you?'' ''Is there a limit to your love?'' Maybe you've asked someone questions such as these at one time or another. It's easy to feel betrayed when someone whose love we have not questioned shows lack of love-in words or acts of unkindness, thoughtlessness, irritation.

At times like these we might be approaching love as a commodity, which can be withheld or meted out at will. It appears as a simple fact of life that we do love some people more than others, because of their personalities, proximity, or familiarity to us. This is not, however, the way God loves. And if God seems to love one person more than another, this is because of the way we see things, rather than how they really are.

Christ Jesus said of God, ''[He] sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust'' (Matthew 5:45). Life does often seem unfair. How is it possible, then, that God's blessings should rest on all alike? It's because God is Love. So there is only a loving God and His loving creation.

Nothing but the belief that God knows both good and evil disputes the mutual love between God and man. And the Bible relates that this belief was forbidden knowledge (see Genesis 2:17). In learning the true nature and origin of love, we can let go of our belief in-our knowledge of-evil, just as we would let go of a dream by waking up from it.

The particular situation you may be struggling with at any given moment is nothing outside of your own consciousness, over which you have ultimate control. It is only part of a dream, from which you can awaken. This is the dream of life in matter.

The fascination of a dream ends when we wake up. In order to see clearly the heaven that the Bible promises, we must wake up from dreaming that evil is real. This might just be what Jesus meant when he said, ''Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand'' (Matthew 4:17). No one is required to love the unkindness another person expresses, but rather to see its falsity. Then it is easy to love that person. This means putting aside a human sense of love and its interdependencies; it means not being so easily sidetracked by some rude word or deed. When we truly understand that the only love we have to love with is the very love of God, which cannot be measured or meted out in part, only then can we love freely, even in the face of personal affront or indignity. This is the same love that Jesus expressed. It is a love that heals.

Some time ago a close relative wrote me a very accusatory letter. At first I was stunned. Then I was angry and hurt. Finally, I resolved to avoid this person as long as she held these views of me.

But the emotional turbulence I felt wouldn't go away. I found myself justifying my reactions, and then needing to go to others, to justify my justifications!

I sat down and wrote a letter to my relative, but I held it a couple of days. On rereading it, I saw things expressed in it that I hadn't known were in my thinking. I even saw how my relative could have developed her arguments against me.

At last, in humble prayer, I realized I needed to surrender the belief that we were two mortal personalities in conflict. This I could do, if I truly wanted to see the perfection of God expressed by each of us. With something similar to a jolt, I came out of dejection. I felt a great love that could only have been the love of God. All my hurt, self-righteousness, and anger left me, like a dream in the night. I stopped struggling with resentment, and I felt sure that all was well.

I tore up my letter and wrote another, in which I was able to express this love with words that healed. A few days later I received a reply that confirmed the situation had been healed. The bond between my relative and me was even strengthened by the incident.

I could see how the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, could truthfully write of God, ''Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals.'' This is from the book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 13). It is in turning to this Love that we can find healing of troubled relationships. Awakening to this Love, which is beyond measure, we can help ourselves and everyone.

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