Love your neighbor
A Christian Science perspective: How can we move beyond fear of and anger toward others?
What is behind the fear that causes anger, hatred, and mistreatment of others? For some it can be a sense of economic insecurity – a fear that their way of life will be threatened. There can also be anxiety of being separated from the good that they have accumulated that they feel is rightfully theirs. Many times it is the perception of someone that causes fear and expresses itself in anger. Is there a way out of this way of thinking? John wrote that there is no fear in love and that perfect love casts out fear (see I John 4:18). The power of love expels fear. Can we change our thought of others from fear and hate to love?
Christ Jesus guided his followers on just how to do this when he spoke of the commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, New King James Version). He taught us to live by the golden rule: Do to others what you would want done to you. To follow this commandment and love our neighbor as ourself, we need to know who we are first.
So how do we see ourselves? The Bible explains that we are all the children of God (see Romans 8:16). He is our Father, and He created us for the purpose of expressing and reflecting the qualities of God. So as we understand more about God and His divine nature, we learn more about ourselves and the qualities we naturally manifest. Because God is Love, we must naturally express the characteristics of love: mercy, affection, gentleness, kindness, unselfishness. Because God is all-knowing Mind, we express wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Because God is Truth, all of God’s children reflect honesty, integrity, and honor. All of these qualities belong to us and to everyone because they are given to us by God, who is our Father-Mother. They apply equally to all people. So we can begin to understand that being fearful, close-minded, selfish, or feeling superior toward another is not the real nature of anyone. And that fear, anger, and hatred are not valid or ordained by God. We are each valued by God and complement one another as God’s children. As we each embrace more of our divine nature in our thinking, thoughts of love, compassion, and unselfishness fill our thought, and we experience more good and health in our experience.
I was able to prove this on a business trip to one of my company’s remote offices. As I boarded the train, I felt a sharp pain in my side that made it difficult to turn to either side. The pain continued into the next day.
I had been given this assignment because no one else could figure out the computer network problem I was sent to fix, so I was feeling pretty superior to others in my office. Humility and love were far from my thought, especially toward one person, whom I did not like at all and who made me angry. He was impatient, mean, and condescending. For those reasons, employees were often afraid to ask him for help.
On this trip I had been praying about this situation and my thoughts about this person, when suddenly I realized that we were both valued by God and had God’s wisdom and love to express. Our God-given natures were complementary. We were both needed, equal, and included in God’s infinitude. It was like a calm, clear light of understanding shining in my thought.
Several minutes after praying this way, I solved the network problem and the pain in my side stopped. As my thinking about the divine nature of each of us improved, my health improved, as did my relationship with the other worker. From then on we treated each other with respect, and he began to work better with others as well.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this publication and discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 467). As we see our true identity and follow Jesus in loving others, we begin to see everyone as God’s harmonious offspring, created to express love, honesty, and wisdom. This is the courage of love, and it makes us fearless.