Refuse to hate
Jesus’ command to love our enemies can seem a tall order. But when we honestly seek God’s help in doing it, anger and frustration give way to solutions and harmony.
As I’ve been praying about the unrest, hatred, and disease that seem to be present in many places today, I’ve felt more and more the need to actively follow Christ Jesus’ teachings and example of pure love.
As loathsome as the attitudes and actions of his enemies were, Jesus never indulged in hating the individuals. Instead, he told his followers, “Love your enemies.” And he proved the power of that spiritual discipline in many ways, most notably through healing. By striving to understand his teachings and those of Mary Baker Eddy, a follower of Jesus, we too can contribute to harmony and healing in the world around us.
Mrs. Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote in an article titled “Love your enemies”: “Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last. If indulged, it masters us; brings suffering upon suffering to its possessor, throughout time and beyond the grave” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 12).
The question is, how do we “hate no one” in a world that seems so divided and filled with anger and mistrust? One thing I’ve found really helpful is the idea that God is divine Mind, ever intelligent and never confused or afraid. We can pray to this Mind for guidance and answers, no matter what situation we face.
Mrs. Eddy writes in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Mind is God. The exterminator of error is the great truth that God, good, is the only Mind, and that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind – called devil or evil – is not Mind, is not Truth, but error, without intelligence or reality” (p. 469).
What that means in practical terms is refusing to believe that we are inevitable victims of warring minds that can divide, manipulate, or destroy one another. When we accept God, good, as the only legitimate Mind and let this divine Mind govern our thoughts and actions, we are uniting with the divine intelligence that loves all of its ideas – all of us, as God’s spiritual offspring. This Mind, God, isn’t only ever present, but made each of us to express its limitless love.
This understanding isn’t just “good thoughts” or naiveté. It actually shifts our attitudes toward everything we are facing. It empowers us to get beyond fear, suspicion, and judgmentalism, which can cloud progress.
I experienced this in a small way when I was involved in shutting down a nonprofit activity. Out of the blue, we received a notice from a collection company about a significant bill relating to an account we thought we had closed. I was filled with feelings of suspicion and injustice. An added complication was that we’d never received paperwork acknowledging that the account had been closed.
I had heard that this particular company was actively disliked, and I began to give in to this feeling, too. But I understood that this was not a mindset that leads to healing. In fact, it keeps us from feeling the healing love that Jesus lived.
So instead of being angry, I looked for a path forward. I prayed to respect the person I was working with at the company, and also refused to believe that any force besides God, divine Truth, had power. I became even more firmly committed to finding a God-inspired solution that would lead to peace.
Then I happened to meet with a friend who dealt in financial affairs. After we had completed our business, she asked how I was doing. It came to me to mention this situation, and she immediately offered some fresh ideas on how to proceed. Within a short time, the whole situation was resolved.
A special bonus was that during the negotiations I found I could speak with the representative from the collection company with love and respect, and she did the same with me. Now, whenever I think of that period, it is with gratitude for divine Love. And my attitude toward that company has totally changed in a positive direction.
I realize that this is a small example. But it shows the value of a genuine commitment to divine Truth and to loving as Jesus taught. The vital part is to stand firm in divine Love and in the oneness of Mind. Our prayers and obedience to divine Mind’s guidance can reveal any inspiration we need to help bring healing to our world.