Tenderness and might
A Christian Science perspective: These two terms work together simultaneously.
For as long as I can remember, I have loved this passage from the textbook of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy: “Tenderness accompanies all the might imparted by Spirit” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 514). It takes two seemingly mutually exclusive attributes and illustrates how in God and His creation they are actually mutually inclusive attributes, in which one simply doesn’t exist without the other.
It may be hard to see how the force of might can be applied tenderly, but Mrs. Eddy uses them here to describe the power of Spirit, a synonym for God. Spirit is infinite. Christian Science teaches that Spirit is All-in-all – all-inclusive good. Because God is one God, every Godlike attribute – such as tenderness and might – is perfectly wedded to every other aspect of God’s nature. There is simply no way to extract the qualities of God from the wholeness of God’s nature.
The divinely natural coincidence of tenderness and might is not just an interesting concept, but a powerful law. This law brings healing solutions to problems because, at the very core, many problems seem to be rooted in a mistaken belief that one or the other of these attributes is lacking. For instance, a political government might have power, but if it lacks tenderness, its government is without compassion. Or a politician may appear to be compassionate, but may be weak politically or lack the backbone to stand for principle. But in the divine Science of being – the reality of Spirit, God, and God’s government of man – where there is God’s omnipotent power, there is also the deepest of tenderness and care. Praying to understand this absolute mandate is a way to bear witness to Truth in even the most difficult of situations, so that wisdom, compromise, reasonableness, and win-win solutions come to the fore.
In a modest but helpful way, my husband and I experienced this recently when we were preparing to gain permits for a building project with our local town planning board. There was thought expressed by our community that the board was all-powerful and that it was unlikely the board would give us what we were asking for. It was even suggested that bribery or mudslinging was the only way to get anywhere. But we were actively praying to see everyone as God made man, spiritual and good, and understood that man reflected the qualities that are part of God’s nature. This meant that qualities such as wisdom and compassion are a part of everyone, and those in authority could use these qualities to come up with a decision that would bring solutions to all concerned. We also prayed to understand that God truly governed all, and that God’s might would tenderly meet our need. The night of our meeting with the board was a very brief and pleasant experience. The board members appreciated our concessions to their needs and felt our request was very reasonable, and we all went away blessed.
The Psalmist assures us, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalms 85:10). As we pray for even larger issues in the world, we can grow in our understanding that tenderness and might go hand in hand in the allness of God. Discerning in prayer the reality and presence of these Godlike qualities, we bring them into our experience and see their healing effects.