Thursday, April 25, 2019

A Spiritual Basis for Loving Your Neighbor


One of the well-known instructions in The Bible is to "love your neighbor as yourself".  This is often easier said than done, especially if we think of our "neighbor" in broad terms as all of our fellow men.  Many of our neighbors can seem quite unlovable!  How are we to obey this command?

Mary Baker Eddy, a Christian author and healer, shed some light on this topic in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures where she wrote:

"To love one's neighbor as one's self, is a divine idea, but this idea can never be seen, felt, nor understood through the physical senses."
"When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded;..."

In this second statement, "Mind" is a synonym that Eddy uses for God to convey the intelligence and wisdom inherent in God's creating and governing activity.  As I've studied Eddy's book, I've come to understand that this command is not about how much to love your neighbor (e.g. as much as you love yourself), but how and why to love your neighbor - as yourself because you are closely related through your relationship with God.  To the physical senses, we are all individual beings that are often in conflict, but to spiritual sense we are all ideas of God made, as The Bible says, "in His image and likeness."  Remembering this fact, even if we can't seem to discern it at the moment through the physical senses, enables us to follow The Bible's instruction and genuinely love others.

Recently, I was standing in a crowd at an airport baggage carousel waiting for my luggage.  The lady next to me had a backpack on and was speaking a foreign language to her companion.  She had her back toward me and, oblivious to my presence, kept swinging her backpack into me.  Because of the physical sense evidence - I couldn't understand her words or see her face and I was getting pushed aside - I didn't at first feel much love toward her.  But remembering the spiritual meaning behind this biblical command, my heart embraced her as a fellow idea of God.  Just then her bag came along the carousel, but because of it's size and weight she was unable to lift it off.  I instinctively grabbed it and placed it by her.  She turned, smiled, and thanked me appreciatively.  The mutual love of one neighbor to another was outwardly expressed!

You can learn more about the spiritual basis for loving your neighbor from Eddy's book.  Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures can be read online, purchased at major book sellers, or read, borrowed, or purchased at the Christian Science Reading Room in Evergreen, Colorado.



1 comment:

  1. I've been reading with some church friends the letters of Paul to the churches that comprise much of the New Testament. I've been struck how Paul over and over instructs the various emerging churches to drop their behavioral checklists and judgement of others in favor of an embracing and supportive love for others. He keeps going back to God's grace and love for each of us. In turn, we need to express that love towards other to be with God and more fully share in that grace and love for us. Science and Health so brings out and elaborates the impetus and powerful effects of this prompting. It explores even further the irresistible God of Love.

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