I used to hate wasps. In fact, I used to say that there wasn't a house big enough to contain both me and a wasp. The minute I saw one in the house, I wanted to kill it, and I wasn't too friendly when I saw them outdoors either. I wondered why I was so afraid of them. I couldn't remember ever having been stung by one, but that didn't seem to make any difference.
Then one day I was thinking about how the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible says God created everything-the sun and moon, the grass, the creatures on land and sea, and, of course, "man." At the end of that chapter, the Bible says that "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good" (verse 31). That made me wonder about wasps. The Bible didn't have a little footnote next to that passage saying "except wasps." So maybe, I thought, it wasn't right to hate them.
Christ Jesus, who taught about God and creation in very clear terms, didn't say a whole lot about animals. But his teachings support the humane treatment of animals. And he specifically taught that God wants us to love one another. It follows that we should love every creature God made. We should even love wasps.
I still wasn't too enthusiastic about this idea, but I felt I had to try. I prayed to God. I asked Him to show me how to love all of His creation. I knew this meant seeing His creatures in spiritual, not material, terms. Instead of seeing a buzzing, menacing creature that could harm me, I wanted to be able to see the useful, purposeful qualities God always gives to His creation. I was certain that if I could catch even a glimpse of the goodness of God in these creatures, I would be able to overcome my fear and hatred of them.
Then I was working in the garden one day. We had had a rainstorm the day before, and there were some small pools of water still standing in the mulch I was using to keep weeds down. Suddenly, right next to me, a wasp landed on one of the pools. Instead of feeling upset, I felt surrounded by God's love-for the wasp and me and everything. I knew I would never again fear wasps, inside or outside the house. And that has proved to be true.
Later I came across something written to explain what the first chapter of Genesis says about animals. It is in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: "All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible" (p. 514). Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science, which is God's law-the law of good that governs all life and being. I could see in that statement a way to look at creation in spiritual terms. When we begin to see more and more of the good that God makes, we don't try to destroy other creatures out of ignorance or fear. We can all live together according to God's purpose. I stopped believing I was cut off from God's love by a harmful creature and at its mercy. I stopped believing that God could create an evil creature. When I did this, my trouble with wasps was over.
Then it wasn't a big leap for me to realize something else: the insights that had helped me with the wasps also apply to relationships with people, especially those who seem mean or hard to get along with. The same loving God who created you, me, and the wasps also created that "other" person.
I've often found help in these words of Christ Jesus: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:44, 45). To me, Jesus was saying we can't ever be separated from God's love, and we can't allow ourselves to believe that others can be cut off from that love either.
If I hate or despise someone, I'm saying that God, who is infinite, might have a little place in Him where someone or something bad can exist. But when I try my best to love others, I can find a common bond. I discover that love must be right there with us, because God is there.
You can find other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.