Seeing and supplying our brother’s need
A Christian Science perspective: The compassion that Jesus taught brings healing results.
No one embodied true Christianity and brotherhood more supremely than Christ Jesus. His example and teachings transformed the world and those around him. He was able to naturally see and supply the needs of others who sought his help and healing. His complete love for God, his heavenly Father, made him love those around him – God’s creation – with warmth and tenderness.
Even amid a crowd of strangers, Jesus was not insensitive to people he had never met. He was on his way to heal the dying daughter of one of the rulers of the synagogue. The Bible story says that “much people followed him, and thronged him” (Mark 5:24). Before he reached the ruler’s house, a woman in the crowd, who had tried in vain for many years to relieve her bodily ailment through local physicians, “touched his garment” in expectancy of healing. This simple act resulted in a compassionate and immediate healing by the Master. And after the woman was instantly healed, he continued on to restore the ruler’s daughter, bringing her back to life (see Mark 5:35-43). Such healing experiences were characteristic of our Master’s entire career as teacher, preacher, and healer.
In conformity with what Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated, Christian Science teaches that we should love and respond to other people’s needs and requests for help. This is based on the Master’s two great commandments to love God and man (see I John 4:21).
Mary Baker Eddy writes in the Christian Science textbook, under the marginal heading “Assistance in brotherhood”: “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 518).
Seeing our brother’s need demands much more than just noticing them, or being aware of them. Yes, we begin by being aware of those needs. But we are also to apply the Christly love that results in healing – a love that perceives spiritually the real identity of all of us as children of God and what it means that we are, as the Bible says, God’s image and likeness. We are able to do this when our thought is motivated by our unselfish love and Christian compassion. As we sincerely desire to recognize God’s infinite love for His children, we begin to see this love expressed every day in our lives. We find evidence that He is always present, caring, and providing good for every single one of His children. Feeling this love that God has for His creation awakens within us a Christian compassion which helps us overcome any reluctance to reach out to others.
Mrs. Eddy writes, “The Christian Scientist loves man more because he loves God most” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 100). God, divine Love, is ever-present, and this all-inclusive power comforts the sorrowing heart, binds the wounds of affliction, and redeems precious self-respect and self-worth. The idea of seeing our brother’s need applies to both individual as well as collective issues. Our prayers for those individuals who ask for them do not exclude our prayers for our community and our world. Divine Love has no boundaries or limits. It embraces all.
Divine Love and Truth continuously give us the compassion and wisdom to see our individual brother’s needs when he may reach out to us for prayerful support. As our thought is imbued with divine Love, then we are prepared to see and supply that need. That same selfless and brotherly love also gives us the awareness, understanding, and capacity to see and address the collective needs of mankind. With a conviction of God’s power and ever-present love for His entire creation, our prayers will have increasing effect as we gain a higher sense of divine Love and actively seek to love our fellow men and women.