Rarely a day goes by when I don’t see examples of love in action: A hair stylist marshals colleagues from nearby salons to give free haircuts for the homeless during the holidays; folks in my town use social media to quickly start collecting clothing for a family whose house burned down; I return home after a snowstorm to find my driveway completely shoveled by a neighbor. And the Monitor’s weekly feature titled “People Making a Difference” presents stirring accounts of people devoting their lives to remarkable selfless purposes, as in the profile of Ian Anand Forber-Pratt, who founded Foster Care India.
The fact is, each one of us has the innate ability to be a “difference-maker” in our own way – because of who we truly are as God’s spiritual image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27). The Bible teaches that “God is love” (I John 4:8). God is divine Love itself, the Father and Mother of all creation. Infinite Love fills all space and governs, sustains, and cares for each of us, God’s spiritual children. As God’s image and likeness, His offspring, each of us uniquely reflects the nature of Love, just as every sunbeam reflects the light and warmth of its origin, the sun.
Truly, God moves us to love. As the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way” (p. 454). We can prayerfully let divine Love guide our thoughts, motives, and actions. And in doing so, as one ray of light can open the bud of a violet, so each one of us – by our reflection of divine Love – can make a difference in the lives of others. Prayer inspired by divine Love can bring tangible blessings.
There was no greater transparency for Love than Christ Jesus. In his brief career he healed the sick, the suffering, and the sinful, giving the world new hope and understanding of what it means to be the image of God, loved by God, living in the kingdom of Love. Because Jesus demonstrated God’s love with such purity, he was willing to give his human life on the cross to illustrate, for all humanity, that divine Love triumphs over hate, as evidenced by his resurrection and ascension.
I’ve found that as we understand more of the truth of God and man as Jesus taught, we find our own love for God and man expanding. Some years ago, after moving into a brand-new house, my husband and I discovered, to our dismay, many serious construction flaws. Several neighbors had even worse problems, and the builder appeared unwilling to fix them.
At first it was tempting to join in the chorus of anger going around. But my husband and I soon agreed that prayer, motivated by divine Love, was the true answer. The Bible teaches that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (I Corinthians 13:7, 8, New King James Version). We endeavored to recognize and appreciate everyone’s, including the builder’s, true, spiritual identity as the child of God, made in the likeness of divine Love.
We felt led to invite the builder and his wife over for breakfast one morning. It turned out to be a heart-to-heart talk, during which kindness was expressed by both sides. Over the next couple of days, the builder proceeded to address the various issues in the neighborhood. Word got out about the progress made on our street, and this eventually led to the uncovering and resolution of other problems in our town related to new construction in general.
As we grasp more fully our true nature as the image and likeness of divine Love and strive to bring out this ideal through our prayers, thoughts, and actions, we’ll find that we are equipped to love in meaningful ways, even in challenging circumstances.
It can be hard sometimes, especially when the shadows of indifference, apathy, or hate loom large, like clouds hiding the sun. But even where those clouds gather, each of us can pray to bring the light of God’s redeeming love to the situation. And that can truly make a difference, because there is no cloud that can hide the healing light of divine Love.