My grandmother Ester was home alone with young children when she answered the door. Standing in front of her were local members of the white supremacist group known as the Ku Klux Klan. It was clear that they had come to intimidate or even worse, but they ended up leaving without a fuss. What happened?
This was early on in the American civil rights movement. About a decade before, my grandmother had emigrated from Latin America to the United States, where she’d met and married my grandfather. An interracial couple, my grandparents worked in a variety of modest ways through their lives and careers to advocate for the rights and worth of all.
Not long after they married, a friend introduced them to Christian Science, which broadened their views. They learned of the infinitely loving nature of God and of everyone’s essential value as God’s spiritual offspring. The Bible describes God, Love, as our divine source and substance, where we “live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). God, who is Life itself, is all-embracing and present to protect all of us from harm or the pull to harm others.
No doubt my grandmother grappled with fear that day. But what won out were the divinely derived qualities of calmness, wisdom, and courage that her understanding of God as Life empowered her to express when she spoke to the Klan members. She told them that she knew some of them from the community, and there was no reason for anyone to be hurt. And they left without trouble.
It wasn’t the words that made the difference, but the higher law of Life, or God, that was behind them. Though it certainly may seem otherwise, especially in a situation like that, on a fundamental level none of us are enemies. Fear, animosity, and whatever else that’s ungodlike – that’s not good – are the underlying enemies. It’s the genuinely loving nature God expresses in us that really defines each of us. And the notion that some are superior and others inferior is an awful foe that can be overcome through a growing understanding of divine Love as the very Life that sustains our existence.
Jesus preached that God’s law or “commandment is life everlasting” (John 12:50), and he showed us real life is all about love. He embraced everyone, from outcasts to “enemies,” with a divinely impelled love that healed. Infinite Love shone brilliantly through Jesus’ whole ministry, including his triumph over death – over a material conception of life – revealing everyone’s true nature as the precious, indestructible, spiritual manifestation of the one supreme Life that’s God.
Gaining a spiritual view of our life as forever inseparable from God frees us from fear and enables us to express peaceful strength, even when threatened.
Over the years, I’ve loved and learned from this and other experiences my grandparents had. But now more than ever, with the groundswell of global voices speaking out about our collective need to address racism, I’m praying day by day for God to show me how to better value and fearlessly love everyone as a unique expression of the one divine Life. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote, “Life is the everlasting I AM, the Being who was and is and shall be, whom nothing can erase” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 290).
Nothing can erase or negate the present spiritual reality of our life in God, before which notions of superiority and inferiority crumble. The Christ, or message of everyone’s unbreakable relation to God, is perpetually shining in human consciousness, opening doors of understanding that every member of God’s family has everlasting worth.
To read or share an article for teenagers on addressing racism effectively, please click through to “What you can do about racism” on www.JSH-Online.com. That article appears in the Oct. 26, 2020, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel, whose focus is “Can racism be healed?”