Unconditional love

A Christian Science perspective.

Kaye Cover
A sparrow perches on one of the bird feeders in the author's yard.

I recently placed three bird feeders in a tree outside my window. I was amazed at how quickly word spread that there was food at my yard; it seems as though every day more hungry birds show up! Most of them are sparrows – humble birds, sweet and fun to watch.

One morning as I quietly observed them, I was reminded of a favorite Bible passage: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings [a coin of little value], and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6, 7). Even as a child I loved that passage, and I’d think, “God must really love me!”

It’s good to be aware of this truth, because there might be times in our lives when we feel unloved and even unlovable. Maybe a relationship hasn’t worked out, stress on the job is overwhelming, money and health issues dominate our thoughts, or we feel guilty about our actions or words. The resulting feelings of fear, failure, or loneliness can be almost unbearable. We start to doubt our self-worth and might wonder if we’ll ever feel happy again.

How can we replace those negative (and false) thoughts with words of truth, and find healing in our lives? A starting point is to figure out why God loves us so much.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy” (pp. 476-477).

In other words, when Jesus looked upon the sincere people who came to him for help, he was not fazed by the appearance of discord, illness, poverty, or a sinful way of life – he saw inherent goodness. He beheld the child of God, who, like the Father, is wholly good, well, and worthy of unconditional love. This correct view resulted in healing time and time again. We can be assured that no one and no circumstance can diminish God’s love.

This unconditional love is not only comforting, but it also provides the guidance we need to approach our day. As we emulate Jesus by “seeing through God’s eyes,” we begin to comprehend the spiritual reality of our existence and all the good it imparts – and we increasingly experience that goodness in our everyday lives. Since we are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27), and God is not sick, impoverished, lonely, or sinful, it follows that we can’t be, either.

As we strive to see ourselves and others in this light (and it does take diligence and practice), hope is renewed, fears start to fall away, and our lives improve.

Mrs. Eddy’s words show the way to answered prayers: “Spiritual love makes man conscious that God is his Father, and the consciousness of God as Love gives man power with untold furtherance [opportunities for advancement]. Then God becomes to him the All-presence – quenching sin; the All-power – giving life, health, holiness; the All-science – all law and gospel” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1902,” pp. 8-9). We couldn’t ask for or need more than that.

Now, as I look at the visiting sparrows in my backyard, they also remind me of the comforting traditional hymn, “His Eye is on the Sparrow”:

“ ‘Let not your heart be troubled,’ His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears.
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
(Civilla D. Martin)

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