Not many things are as sweet as a restored friendship or an estrangement that’s been healed.
Alienation can feel pretty justified when we think that we have been wronged. However, Christ Jesus urged us to love God, divine Love, so deeply and purely that we naturally express love to everyone around us. Alienation has no place in our hearts because it has no place in God.
In spiritual fact, we are not personalities that have to fill up on love before we can share it. God holds each of us in infinite affection as Love’s own spiritual likeness. We are God’s reflection, lovable and loving, fully able to express all-embracing Love, God.
We can come to know that, and feel Love’s warm embrace of us as we love even our so-called enemies, doing “good to them that hate you,” as Jesus said. He also explained why such loving is natural to us: “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:44, 45).
The loving Father that Jesus knew so well couldn’t be anything other than impartially just. But this justice is different from the judgments we make about who’s right and who’s wrong in a disagreement. God’s justice is divine perfection that denies evil any power.
Following these teachings of Jesus doesn’t excuse bad behavior or relieve someone else of needed reform, but it transforms what we are responsible for – our thinking. Changing our view of others to what God knows about them heals mental anguish along with any desire to punish someone for our pain.
Christian Science further explains that it’s mortal perceptions that create “enemies.” Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gave to these thoughts the name “mortal mind.” Mortal mind can’t cognize the “male and female” that God created, so it gets stuck in conflicts and misunderstandings – which push us into alienation. Because mortal mind isn’t real Mind, God, we can reject the stirred-up emotions it offers.
Mrs. Eddy wrote: “Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception? What is it that harms you? Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good, – that blesses infinitely one and all?” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 8).
It’s not a personal love that repairs strained relationships; it’s unselfed love, straight from God. A pure affection doesn’t hold grudges. Honesty with ourselves slows down a rush to make snap judgments about someone. These graces of spiritual love make human pride, deception, and hate less potent and real to us. Praying for our enemies and ourselves rights the wrongs we suffer by shifting our human perspective to the divine understanding of everyone’s true identity as Love’s infinite expression. The effect of this can be tremendous.
At one time, I blamed someone in my church for decisions I disapproved of. I walked away from any association with this individual for many years. But during those years, my love for God and church – along with its members – was growing.
Finally, I said to myself, “I can love enough to work with people I may disagree with.” As I became more active in church work, I couldn’t avoid contact with this person. One week, I had a few emails to write to my one-time enemy, and I wrote them with as much love as I could. As if out of the blue, what was shared in a response to one of my emails was the spiritual truth I needed to lift my distress about some work problems. This person gave to me freely. I wrote back in appreciation and sincere friendship. And this friendship continues.
We often see ourselves as totally right and someone else as totally wrong. This is just the opposite of what’s provable in Christian Science. God, good, is right. Wrongs are corrected as our own thinking comes into line with Love, divine Principle. The good we practice consistently is what links humanity with the harmony of Love.
We cannot be kept from yielding to the great power and warmth of Love. God is right with us and gives us integrity, honesty, and compassion. All are part of an unselfed love that lets the infinite Love that is God reconcile our relationships and free us from alienation.
Adapted from an editorial published in the September 2021 issue of The Christian Science Journal.