In reading and watching recent news media coverage of divisive politics, health scares, and terrorism, I’ve thought a lot about finding solutions to these problems. It’s reminded me of an experience I had many years ago that convinced me healing is possible in the middle of conflict and illness.
At one point when I was in school, I had a teacher who used to have emotional meltdowns in class. Sometimes these involved throwing things or yelling at the students. Parents complained, but the school administration didn’t feel they had the ability to make a change.
During this time, I no longer enjoyed going to school. I resented my teacher for her behavior and for taking away my love of school. As this was going on, warts appeared on the bottom of my foot.
On Sundays, I attended my local Christian Science Sunday School, where I learned about the teachings and life of Christ Jesus. The love and compassion for others he taught and practiced, and the healings of physical problems that accompanied these teachings, inspired me. I was particularly impressed that he forgave even those who hated and crucified him.
What made it possible for Christ Jesus to love and forgive others was his understanding of God. He knew God to be our Father – not a human person, but Spirit (see John 4:24). The first chapter of Genesis explains that Spirit, God, created man – the generic term for all the sons and daughters of God – in His “image, after [God’s] likeness” (Genesis 1:26). This means God’s creation must be spiritual – like Him.
Christ Jesus’ understanding of man’s true, spiritual identity was the basis of his love and compassion for others and was what enabled him to heal. He taught his disciples, and all who follow his teachings, that loving others, based on an understanding of our true relationship to God, makes it possible to be healed and to heal.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, which is based on Christ Jesus’ teachings, explained his healing this way: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” pp. 476-477).
Christ Jesus recognized that those who came to him for healing did not know of their true identity as the child of God. He had compassion on them, because he knew that God loves His children, and that the problems they were experiencing didn’t come from God, but from a misapprehension of God and their relationship to Him. Jesus could correct these misapprehensions, show individuals God’s love for them and the truth about their identity. This healed them of their illnesses and errant behavior.
Throughout the school year, my parents and Sunday School teacher and I had talked about this idea of loving others and seeing them as God’s perfect children. I wanted to practice this, but it had been hard for me to fully accept this in the face of so much evidence to the contrary.
One day, that all changed. We were taking standardized tests when the teacher had another meltdown. A teacher from an adjoining class entered the room and started speaking with her.
In that moment, I finally understood that the teacher was experiencing difficult challenges outside the classroom that resulted in these outbursts. All the resentment and bitterness I had been harboring all year dissolved in that instant. My heart filled with compassion for her. I was able to glimpse something of her real identity as God’s child, and I had a longing to let her know that she was loved – not just by people, but by God. My feelings toward her had completely changed.
That was the last time the teacher had an emotional outburst in class. By the next year her personal problems had been resolved, and she became one of the students’ favorite teachers. But I was the one who really was healed. With the resentment and bitterness gone, shortly afterward the warts on the bottom of my foot disappeared.
I learned important lessons about healing from that experience. I saw the importance of being compassionate toward others, and more than that, I learned that experiencing and practicing healing in the way Christ Jesus taught heals and blesses everyone. It is possible for everyone to experience and practice his teachings here and now.