In her memoir, technology pioneer Ping Fu shares a moving account of how an uncle provided a lifeline of love and encouragement when she was sent away as a child for “reeducation” during China’s Cultural Revolution. She faced extreme ridicule and bullying from militant Red Guards, but her uncle, who was able to briefly visit, gave her such reassurance when he said, “Know that you are precious. You don’t need to earn it; this is your birthright” (Ping Fu and MeiMei Fox, “Bend, Not Break: A Life in Two Worlds,” p. 67). The book goes on to say that later he also encouraged her to “stay in a place of love toward other people, rather than sinking into resentment or fear” (p. 68).
Reading Ms. Fu’s account and her uncle’s words has caused me to reflect on a time when I became afraid of another’s antagonism. This experience was nowhere near what Ms. Fu faced, but it’s been a foundational one for me because it taught me how to “stay in a place of love” and conquer fear when confronted with negativity.
I was working at a small bookstore, and I so loved it! But when I found out that a co-worker had suddenly started to disparage me to other staff members, I became fearful of his animosity, and it affected me to the point of illness. I felt so out of it – in bed a lot during the day, tossing and turning at night, with a fever and heavy flu-like symptoms.
Finally, late one night I turned to God in prayer. I also called a Christian Science practitioner – someone who is available full time to help people seeking healing – to pray with me. She agreed to help and also said, “There is no battle.”
I instantly felt free from fear. I knew she wasn’t ignoring my struggle but was pointing me to a spiritual reality that could help me break through it. These few words helped me realize the supremacy of divine Love, God, who defines our true nature. In light of God’s supremacy, I could see that fear and animosity have no actual authority. Christ Jesus demonstrated this healing truth, embracing everyone’s true being as the expression of God’s love.
Well, as I continued to pray that night, a fresh appreciation for my co-worker dawned in my heart. I spent some lovely moments valuing the God-derived qualities he expressed, such as creativity. Up until then, I’d pretty much stereotyped him as just a crusty guy. It was so freeing to drop that unloving stereotype and simply love him as an individual, spiritual expression of God.
Then I had a peaceful sleep. When I woke in the morning, the fever had lifted and I was up and going again. I returned to work, and the issues with the co-worker that had loomed large were no longer present; we moved forward harmoniously in our work together.
The only “enemy” we really face is the persona of an unloving self. But this persona is not anyone’s true identity. Whether it’s manifested as derisive sociopolitical discourse, extremes of hate speech, or harsh suggestions from an inner critic, we can bravely call out negativity and hatred as false narratives. Everyone’s true voice, identity, and inclinations are divinely derived from the pure Love that is God.
These are lessons I have learned from reading the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. For instance, Science and Health says: “Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom. Love is enthroned” (p. 454). Destructively critical and hateful attitudes – from the slightest to the most extreme – aren’t excusable in any of us. Divine Love is tirelessly on the job, mercifully exposing and nullifying these false modes of thought and behavior, bringing out the true, loving nature of us all.
It’s not easy to always love everyone. But I keep praying for God’s grace to illuminate any dark corners where fear, indifference, anger, or other unloving thoughts lurk – to free me from these unnatural tendencies and let my naturally loving, Godlike nature shine brightly to help others.
Each of us can pray to see our whole human family as embraced in the universal light of Love, as precious spiritual expressions of the one Divine Being. In this way we experience healing and feel God’s love moving us forward in harmony.
Adapted from an article published in the May 27, 2019, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.