On responding with love, not hate

A Christian Science perspective: Responding with love to the news of the day contributes to healing.

With my work taking me to several different countries these past few years, I’ve picked up on what seems like an increase in how quickly people respond with hate when they hear the news of the day. But I’ve also seen an increase in how quickly people are willing to love.

The news we watch and read often uncovers wrongdoing, and we may feel pressed into accepting that we are supposed to detest someone or something. While people, organizations, and companies should certainly be held responsible for immoral mistakes they make, how we respond to news of injustice, corruption, etc., will determine whether we’re contributing to healing or just making the problem worse.

Hatred has never had a healing effect on anyone or anything. Responding to hatred with love has the ability to heal and uplift, as can be seen in the life of Christ Jesus. He proved that spiritual grace and love can relieve the frustration that tempts us when we are exposed to unjust, selfish, and toxic behaviors. Love that conquers evil is a love that reflects God, divine Love.

This divine Love holds everyone within its embrace, without exception. That’s because even people we may only see as cruel, the eternal Love knows only as its own spiritual offspring, completely good. Jesus faced the harsh judgment of the religious leadership of his day, the icy, self-serving indifference of the political leadership, and the violent cruelty of the army. But he was victorious by drawing deeply and wholeheartedly on infinite Love.

He encouraged us not just to love those who love us, but to take care to love even those who act hatefully toward us and persecute us (see Matthew 5:44). He knew humanity was capable of this unselfed love, because he knew we are all truly Love’s own spiritual children. And Jesus proved for all that the world’s most powerful weapon is the love of God.

Most of us have learned from our own experiences that hatred harms the hater so much more than the hated. And many of us have also experienced, in some degree, that selfless prayer and action based on God’s love overcomes sin, fear, injustice, and evil. Such a powerful weapon for achieving good mustn’t remain hidden; it must be brought out into the open and employed constantly.

“Divine Love corrects and governs man. Men may pardon, but this divine Principle alone reforms the sinner,” writes Monitor founder, Mary Baker Eddy, in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 6). So why would we ever resort to hate?

We don’t ever need to! It’s good to be one of the people on our globe who is quick to love. The question of the week shouldn’t be, “Who deserves hatred?” Drawing upon the same omnipotent and ever-present Love that Jesus drew upon, we can each ask ourselves a more healing and cleansing daily question: “How can I love?”

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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