If you fail to love your children, are you guilty of neglecting their health? There probably have been no scientific studies to confirm this. But there would be little doubt in the minds of many caring parents that a deep and abiding love on their part has been basic to their children's well-being.
Some parents would even insist that when a family actually feels the presence of God's love, a special kind of harmony in the home can become the norm. In fact, there are families worldwide who have found that growing to understand God as Love itself is a powerful force for healing -- not only of discord but also of physical disease.
There are diverse methods of treating disease. Yet in any circumstance a parent's love, expressing the love of God, can be central in leading to healing. It might be said that the medicine of God's love transcends whatever else a parent might be doing.
For instance, a woman I know of was answering a journalist's questions about child neglect and abuse. She told him of her growing-up years. They had been difficult. A painful ear condition had robbed her of much of the normal freedom and happiness other children had. Her parents had made every effort to help her through conventional Western medicine. Some of those efforts had resulted in even more pain. Did this constitute child abuse? Of course not. Her parents' love for her in trying to help her in every way they could with medicine had been an authentic expression of love. And this love was eventually to prove more significant than medical help. You might say that the love was even more a medicine than the medical procedures themselves.
One day her dad found some Christian Science literature that told how prayer heals. Little did he realize at that moment that he would soon discover how the love he felt for his little girl had its source in God, in divine Love -- how Love, when understood, heals. He also learned that Christian Science practitioners devote their full time to healing through prayer. The practitioner prays to see more clearly that an individual is truly the child of God, made pure and perfect in God's very image and likeness. Nurturing this crucial fact through communion with God overcomes discordant events, and human life is drawn into harmony with the divine law.
Those parents contacted a practitioner, who agreed to pray for the child. This prayer was the medicine of God's love in action. Very quickly the girl was healed.
The question of child neglect and abuse, whatever form it takes, ultimately will be resolved through a more intelligent, discerning parental love. This is not a naive or passive love, but a spiritually impelled desire to nurture a child's well-being. When parents are expressing the qualities of this love sincerely, they are not neglecting their children; they are negating neglect.
Christ Jesus healed children through the power of divine Love. He understood that God is Love. He knew that God tenderly cares for and blesses His children. Jesus even pointed to children's natural responsiveness to God as a quality we all need in order to experience more of heaven -- that is, more of God's healing harmony. He told his disciples, "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein" (Mark 10:15).
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, spoke of an incident from a time when she was ill in her childhood: "My mother, as she bathed my burning temples, bade me lean on God's love, which would give me rest, if I went to Him in prayer, as I was wont to do, seeking His guidance. I prayed; and a soft glow of ineffable joy came over me. The fever was gone, and I rose and dressed myself, in a normal condition of health" (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 13). Here was a clue of what she was to discover about the dependable and scientific nature of spiritual healing.
Later she wrote the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which reveals how Christ Jesus' disciples healed-and how his modern-day disciples still can heal-through understanding God. His power remains safe and reliable in caring for the wide range of family needs.