Recently, a group of strangers rescued a family that had been carried out to sea by a riptide in Florida. They formed an 80-person human chain from the shore into the ocean, and were able to bring each family member to safety. Many news outlets picked up on this story as a beautiful example of selfless love for others, and it was a reminder to me that loving others is a natural inclination in all of us, one that blesses all involved.
Reading about this caring act also brought to mind an evening about a year ago, which reassured me that not only is caring the right thing to do, but we are safe when we do so.
As I was baking some cookies for friends, I burned my hand with a cookie sheet. The old adage “No good deed goes unpunished” came to thought. But in that moment I knew that I could approach the situation from the opposite understanding of the uninterrupted consistency of God’s love for me and everyone.
Indeed, God is not just loving, but is Love itself – a divine Love that we all dwell in, according to the Bible (see I John 4:16). No one and nothing can be left out of this all-encompassing and all-inclusive Love. The Divine knows us as its spiritual expressions, so our very substance is Love. Even my modest desire to do something for these friends was inspired by this Love. So how could I be harmed by being kind?
I’m learning to trust that Love is not hit or miss, but is a law we can lean on for healing. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, challenges the idea that God could possibly punish us “for doing right, for honest labor, or for deeds of kindness.” She writes: “We should relieve our minds from the depressing thought that we have transgressed a material law and must of necessity pay the penalty. Let us reassure ourselves with the law of Love” (p. 384). On this basis, we can always mentally protest the belief that injury or pain is inevitable, particularly when something happens that makes it seem as if we are being punished for a kind deed.
As I made this protest, I so deeply felt God’s love for me, my friends, and everyone – a love that all of us have the ability to feel. I completely forgot about my hand. A short time later, I realized that the burn was completely gone.
This small experience reminds me that I can mentally protest whenever I hear that someone who does good can be harmed in the process. When actions are impelled by divine Love, blessings are the natural result.