We can make a difference

Sometimes a perception of uncertainty in today’s world can make a desire to better it feel futile; yet many people are finding ways to make a difference. For all of us, a heartfelt desire to live the Love that is God brings the healing, saving light of God to our activities in tangible ways, as a woman experienced during a threatening situation.

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No matter how complex or hopeless the challenges facing humanity seem, you and I can make a difference. Bettering the world must begin at the individual level, and the key to this individual work is love.

“All right,” one might say. “Perhaps more love is needed. But I’m just one person. What can I do to lessen fear and misunderstanding in the world?” We can find encouragement in the Bible assurance, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, refers to prayer as “an unselfed love” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 1). Throughout my life I’ve seen that the most effective prayer is based on the idea of man and the universe as the spiritual and flawless creation of God. Through prayer we come to see more clearly that God, divine Love, ceaselessly maintains all creation in its original, perfect state. This empowers us to live this spiritual fact in daily life.

Equipped with such understanding, Christ Jesus resolved every problem that confronted him, including stilling a storm, feeding crowds of people, and curing what had been labeled incurable diseases. Each of us can strive to follow Jesus’ example of loving on this Christly basis; to be unselfish, merciful, and kind; and to let the light of our God-reflecting spirituality shine. No matter how sore society’s ills seem, unselfed, spiritual love holds the answer, along with the unshakable understanding that God is divine Spirit, and God’s creation, spiritual.

Some years ago I was serving as a Christian Science minister for armed services personnel in a country halfway around the world from my home. One day while putting up notices for a meeting, I was suddenly struck very hard on my back and shoved into the bulletin board. Turning around, I saw a young man of a different race than I with an angry look on his face.

This military post had recently been the scene of racial unrest, so it would certainly have been logical to feel fearful at that moment. But instead of feeling afraid, I felt a wave of compassion sweep over me. My heart went out to this man. I mentally affirmed divine Love’s governing presence, acknowledging that God’s love was encompassing us both and holding us beyond the reach of ill will, misunderstanding, or harm.

At once, the defiant look left the man’s face. We actually smiled at each other, and an unfortunate incident was quickly averted.

Every time we bring harmony to a discordant situation, show love in the face of hate, and embrace others in the understanding that man’s true being is spiritual – the reflection of God’s being – we are making a very important contribution to healing the world’s ills. The resolution of our individual issues on this basis indicates that being is truly spiritual under all circumstances, and praying to understand this helps pave the way for better global conditions.

The ability to demonstrate kindness, compassion, forgiveness, warmth, and unselfishness is not the prerogative of a chosen few. It is natural to all men and women, since each of us, in our real being, is the reflection of ever-present and inexhaustible divine Love. The material view of man we see all around us is vastly different from this. But if we gain even a glimmer of understanding that all individuals are the children of God, we have a real basis for seeing that our fellow beings – whether next door to us or on the other side of the globe – can naturally express and respond to divine Love.

Each of us can bear witness to divine Love, can be and do right by bestowing upon our fellow beings the love God is pouring out to us and all. You and I can make a difference in the world as we live in our daily activities the Love that is God, thus bringing to the dark places of fear and unhappiness the healing, saving light of divine Love.

Adapted from an article published in the Aug. 5, 2019, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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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.