Can kindness come naturally?
A Christian Science perspective.
“Jesus knew the law of kindness,
Healing mind and heart of blindness;...”
These lines from the “Christian Science Hymnal” (No. 178) are an inspiration and make me want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Kindness is within all of us, but being kind to everyone can be difficult, especially if a situation is unresolved and we are left with hurt feelings.
I’ve found the Bible a source of genuine encouragement if I’m struggling to be kind when I feel someone is taking advantage of me. The book of Genesis tells the story of Joseph, whose brothers treated him with meanness and contempt and sold him as a slave because they were jealous of him. Taken into Egypt and sold by traders, Joseph survived. He had always been guided by God, divine Love, and this experience was no exception. By being obedient to Love through a series of difficult trials, he was released from bondage and from prison.
In fact, Pharaoh even appointed Joseph governor of the land during a famine, and put him in charge of distributing food. Since the famine was widespread, his brothers eventually came to buy food. They didn’t recognize Joseph. Knowing who they were, Joseph could easily have imprisoned all of them. Instead, he trusted God’s guidance, gave them food, and eventually told them who he was.
Because of his love for God and for them, he could say to them sincerely, “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Gen. 45:7). The result was a reconciliation that led them to move to Egypt to be with him.
Joseph’s life illustrated the golden rule, which Jesus later taught his followers: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matt. 7:12). Living by this rule can help anyone keep their cool when people are mean, and can lead to much good for everyone.
But as Jesus’ life illustrated, this rule requires us to develop a spiritual sense of ourselves, to genuinely love others with the kind of Christly love Jesus had – a love that has its roots in God’s love for all His creation. Each of us is actually God’s creation, His child, and the golden rule is a protection and a guide to how we should interact with our fellow beings.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, described the golden rule as “a divine rule for human conduct” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 301). When we are able to love in this way, we can express the true spirituality that destroys every sense of evil, and we can resist the temptation to turn in a negative direction. Loving in this way also reminds us of the goodness and kindness that are natural to us as children of Love. This is not difficult when we understand the power and presence of the Christ to direct our thought.
We all live in the same wonderful world, and we all are in the care of the one infinite God, who loves each of us. This Love is universal and available for all to have and use.
For anyone who longs to be kinder and to improve harmony in the world, the golden rule of living is a practical answer. It enables one to replace thoughts of injustice, envy, revenge, and hatred with kindness, justice, love, and good deeds. Practicing the spiritual qualities that God has given each of us opens our thought to divine guidance in how we treat others. Prayer based on this rule can transform our lives and circumstances, and bless those around us as well.