I have some pretty visible tattoos – illustrations that remind me of people, moments, and Bible passages that are meaningful to me. A while back, I was spending time with some folks who didn’t like them – and they let me know it. And I didn’t like that they were judging me on my appearance.
But I was also bothered by something else. I began to see that my anger against their judgment wasn’t any better than what they were doing. I was judging them!
I started to actively pray about the situation, which is something I’ve found helpful when there’s a problem or situation that needs healing. And I realized that if I’m going to honestly worship and love God, who I’ve learned from my study of Christian Science is all good, then I can’t cut down His creation – made in the spiritual image of God - in words or thought. That creation includes each of us.
That doesn’t mean I condone bad behavior or judgment, which isn’t in line with anyone’s true, spiritual identity. But it does mean that the way wrong gets corrected is by me getting clear first that what God created and supports doesn’t include anything negative or unlike divine Love. It means seeing my fellow man from a spiritual perspective, as innately good.
I thought about Christ Jesus’ powerful example of this. Even as he was being crucified, he said, “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34, Contemporary English Version). Jesus so fully expressed his divine nature as the image, or expression, of divine Love, that he couldn’t stop loving – no matter how desperate the situation.
Of course, my circumstances weren’t anything like Jesus’ circumstances. But couldn’t I do that too? Couldn’t I let my love for others be based only on the fact that God loves me already – and loves them too?
It was as straightforward as that. I realized that the way God sees me is so much more important than the way others see me. And catching a glimpse of the way God sees all of us is healing. I began to feel a spiritual love for these people as God’s children, and I quit waiting for them to love me. And that’s when their condemnation and criticism just melted away.
Feeling God’s love and loving others for what they are spiritually brings remarkable change into our lives. Doesn’t the world need more of this?
A version of this article aired on the Nov. 28, 2017, Christian Science Daily Lift podcast.