Love, the primary ingredient of healing

A Christian Science perspective: What Love is and does. 

We know what love does – it brings meaning and joy to life. But do we know that pure love heals? The warm, overflowing, generous love that fills our hearts can restore hurt minds and bodies. This is because spiritual love in all its beauty expresses the healing presence of divine Love, God.

The ability to help ourselves and others starts with unselfish affection. If we think of some of the things that would make the world better– peace treaties, economic revitalization, high employment, stable families, food distribution – the basic ingredient that makes these efforts helpful to humanity is love. Love is central to something as big as regional peace or as small as feeding a child.

The motive to help humanity is woven into the commandment cited by Christ Jesus: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 19:19). The commandment to love one another demands more than human affection. Jesus didn’t rely on just human goodness to save and heal but taught that God, divine Love, is our unlimited source of love. The spiritual love that the Bible teaches is unselfish, pure, and directly related to our love for God.

God has created man to reflect Him – to express His own nature. No wonder then that when we unselfishly love others, or even our country, we feel we are living up to our best and real selves, as God has made us.

We all have had times when we were so busy helping others that our own worries or fears became less threatening, less important. This is unselfish love at work. Love heals by changing the way we think about ourselves and our fellow man. It helps us understand man as spiritual and the beloved of God.

Love is also grateful. Nothing short of gratitude could make us aware of all the good in our lives. The grateful person is quicker to recognize the real, spiritual treasures that God gives us. Gratitude embraces the good in a job, a marriage, a friend. It replaces discontentment with satisfaction and joy.

Love doesn’t judge. Love keeps us from jumping to conclusions about others. We shouldn’t hide wrongdoing, of course, but neither do we have to overemphasize another’s shortcomings. The sooner resentment and accusations are gone, the quicker brotherly love shows that we are united as God’s children.

Most of us are aware of how much we need love. Sometimes, though, we forget how important it is for us to be loving. When I was in college there was a person in one of my classes whom I disliked. At that time I had warts on my hands that had been there for several years. It occurred to me that I should do more than try to hide them; I should heal them through Christian Science. As I prayed I also made the effort to love this person as my brother. Respect and affection started replacing the dislike – and at the same time my hands became clean and smooth.

To glimpse the immensity of divine Love through prayer is to find out that hate, sorrow, even illness, are contrary to God’s purpose for man. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, illustrates how divine Love heals throughout “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She writes: “Hatred and its effects on the body are removed by Love” (p. 374).

Spiritual love that expresses the purity and strength of divine Love, God, does transform and heal us. Even the smallest increase of love in our lives lets in the warming light of God’s presence, which heals. Each of us has a life that is unique, but no life is void of opportunities to be unselfish, affectionate, generous, forgiving, patient. The many characteristics of love are what make us receptive of healing and allow us to help heal others.

Reprinted from the Aug. 28, 1991, issue of The Christian Science Monitor.

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