From obsessive hatred to a healing love

Nobody is beyond the reach of God’s powerful, healing, reforming love – as a man and his neighbor both experienced after the neighbor’s involvement in human trafficking came to light.

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Sometimes we encounter the wrong that people do, and can find ourselves hating someone for their actions.

Christ Jesus’ admonition to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44) leaves no room for doubt as to how hate must be addressed. The spiritual authority behind these words is the Christ, the message of God’s infinite love for all of us, which meets the human need. And with it, Jesus healed all kinds of moral and physical suffering.

When we submit to hatred in any form, it is detrimental. But the nature of God as Love and eternal good is the real, spiritual nature of all of us. As God’s creation, we are the very expression of divine Love. And we can truly live this love and let it uplift our experience. Through God’s love we can keep hatred from taking root in our thinking.

Some years ago, a neighbor knocked on my door, urgently asking me if I could drive him somewhere. After stopping and waiting at several locations over the course of a few hours, I was becoming exasperated. He finally confessed that he was involved in trafficking young women from other countries to work in prostitution clubs.

My anger was so overwhelming that I left him in the middle of the road. I promptly reported where the trafficking was taking place and where my neighbor was living.

I couldn’t stop the thoughts of anger and resentment toward my neighbor. They were obsessive. I became physically ill, and over the next few weeks was unable to work or to eat or rest very much. My job required that I get a document from a doctor stating why I couldn’t work. The doctor diagnosed me with peritonitis and a type of exhaustion resulting from lack of nourishment.

I decided to ask for the prayers of a Christian Science practitioner to help me recognize my true, spiritual selfhood in the likeness of God, divine Spirit – pure, whole, and free, and without any element of hatred or materiality. I spent the next three days feeding my thoughts with comforting ideas from the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science.

In spite of this, I felt I was dying. One night, I turned to God with all my heart and said, “Father, show me the love You feel for me.” Immediately, I felt directed to open the Bible to First Corinthians 13, which showed clearly that because God is Love, He is patient and always giving. Love feels only joy in what is true. Love never stops revealing itself.

The hardness and self-righteousness I had kept in my heart about this man had left no space at all for love. Mrs. Eddy wrote in Science and Health: “He that touches the hem of Christ’s robe and masters his mortal beliefs, animality, and hate, rejoices in the proof of healing, – in a sweet and certain sense that God is Love” (p. 569). I completely yielded to God’s love as the only governing power, in which is no bitterness to dominate.

I began to feel a profound peace, and slept until the next morning. When I woke up, I felt like a new person. When I returned to the doctor who had examined me, he was very surprised at my rapid recovery. He gave me a clean bill of health to work again. How powerful is the love of God!

Over the next month, I didn’t see my neighbor, but the authorities informed me that he had played only a minor role in the awful criminal activity. I also learned that based on the information I had given them they were able to dismantle a number of sex trafficking groups.

When I saw my neighbor again, he told me how sorry he was for his actions. He explained that, unable to make his mortgage payments, he had felt forced into criminal activity. He told me that he was now working as a plumber and that his wife and children had returned to him after he promised to lead a decent life. From what I could see from his actions the following year, he appeared to be doing that.

Even those who are moved by wrong motives to oppress or harm others can feel God’s love and be redeemed. As I identified myself with divine Love as my only source, I could see clearly that my neighbor couldn’t be separated from Love either. The bad behavior didn’t come from God and therefore couldn’t be a part of this man’s identity. Not long after that, we became friends.

The purpose of Love is to show forth the allness of God’s goodness and the powerlessness of evil. And no one is excluded from this blessing.

Adapted from an article published on, Aug. 25, 2022.

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