To truly love others (which is something I’m still working on) don’t we have to give up unloving thoughts in ourselves? What patience and forgiveness this all takes! But what a wonderful example we have in Christ Jesus. His direction, which Moses gave before him (Leviticus 19:18), to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 19:19) is relevant today. As is the Golden Rule — to treat others the way you would want to be treated (Matt. 7:12) — which is included in many faith traditions.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Church to which I belong, wrote of Christ Jesus — “His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 26). Eddy could write this at least in part from her experience of being healed of the effects of a life-threatening accident in 1866 by reading an account of one of Jesus’ healings in the Bible.
Practicality and relevance are important here. Jesus was giving us an example we can follow today; he was explaining and showing an actual law of healing, that exists for all time and is available for everyone.
Love and compassion are key to that law, which also gives us a basis to understand true worth, our own and others’ — worth based not on material things but on qualities like integrity, kindness, intelligence. If we can truly see the good in others and in ourselves, it makes it a lot easier to love ourselves and others. Appreciating diversity can be a stepping-stone, not a stumbling block, on our individual paths. Sounds like a win-win goal to me.
Virginia McCullough is First Reader in the Newburyport Christian Science Church and a volunteer at the Christian Science Reading Room, www.christiansciencenewburyport.com.