A meaningful contribution to the world

If we’re looking ahead to the future and wondering, “How can I make a difference?” it’s worth considering the profound significance of Jesus’ commandment that we love each other in the manner that he loved us. 

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For recent high school and university graduates – and anyone who’s thinking about next steps – it can be natural to step back and look at things from a broad perspective. It could be said that, right in those moments, this is your world. Yet before you were even born, didn’t other people mold the world you’ve been given? Will you have a say and get to play a part in what it will become next?

Yes, definitely. Maybe you will discover something that will provide reliable energy for everyone. Or create a way to clean an ocean. Or even find a way to travel to other parts of the galaxy.

Such breakthroughs are vital. But whether or not you play such a role, you can do something that may sound modest but is actually incredibly meaningful. The most seriously world-changing idea that I know of has its root in Jesus’ encouraging counsel to “love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). To love one another certainly is vital, yet Jesus prompted us to take that love to even higher levels by loving in the manner that he loved.

How did he love? Elsewhere, Jesus says, “I have loved you the same way the Father has loved me” (John 15:9, God’s Word Translation).

God, the heavenly Father of all of us, loves each of us as His offspring so very much. And in this love, our divine Parent sees us as we truly are. God, whom the Bible calls Love, distinctly perceives and expresses in His spiritual creation unselfed goodness, infinite capability, and even flawlessness.

To love as Jesus loved, then, is to behold everyone – including yourself – in the same way God lovingly sees us all: as spiritual, pure, and whole. This heightened degree of compassionate, divinely impelled love can heal and renew.

I experienced this one time when I became ill with the flu. That day, as I had found helpful many times before, I turned to God in prayer.

Something that I enjoy doing is to let my praying be inspired instead of just going at it dryly on my own, reciting particular Bible verses or ideas. Based on the understanding of God that I have from the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, I like to be quiet and let God bring out ideas for me to think about.

What came to me so clearly that day as I prayed was the tremendous degree to which God loves. God genuinely loves me and everyone everywhere – infinitely! God’s love is uncomplicated and just so clear and deep.

Since God was embracing me, so to speak, it felt natural to embrace Him back. I did so by yielding to God’s love, letting it penetrate my thoughts and inform my perspective of myself and others. This had the effect, within only a few hours, of healing me. The joy I felt with this healing remains with me still, decades later.

Another example – a very vivid example – of the way divine Love heals is recounted in the Bible (see Matthew 20:30-34). There were two blind men who, as Jesus was walking by, called out, asking that they might be able to see.

The Bible says that Jesus had compassion on them. Such compassion hints at how Jesus expressed the love of God toward others: by beholding so clearly these individuals’ present and perfect status as God’s cherished spiritual offspring. And “immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.”

Each of us can learn from this example and strive to see others with clear, spiritually accurate, and healing views of them as God’s children. In this way, we demonstrate love in the manner that Jesus encouraged us to. Science and Health explains, “The substance of all devotion is the reflection and demonstration of divine Love, healing sickness and destroying sin” (p. 241).

Simply pausing to become more aware of our Father’s love is a great way to nurture that kind of devotion. We don’t have to earn God’s love; instead, we can bask in it. Our role is to take opportunities for intentionally expressing it.

This is a most momentous contribution, not only during graduation season or at transitional periods of life, but throughout the year, every year. Besides being good for us individually, welcoming and living God’s love also impacts those around us. Love that has its source in Divinity, lived outwardly and openly and powerfully – isn’t this what will heal our world?

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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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