When violence erupts over religious differences, victimizing thousands of men , women, and children, intolerence becomes everyone's challenge. Chronic hostilities in a variety of countries symptomatize mankind's acute need to love even when treated unfaily. As timely today as it was centuries ago is Christ Jesus' beatitude: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." n1
n1 Matthew 5:10;
When our response to intolerance is deep affection for mankind -- when we find ourselves growing beyond hatred and fear, beyond hurting and being hurt -- we begin to approach as an individual divine right the "heaven" that belongs to those who are "persecuted for righteousness'm sake."
Not a physical location, heaven is all-inclusive divine harmony, attainable through spiritual awakening. Though warring attitudes may seem to obscure it, heaven can't really be absent or exclude anyone.
We awake spiritually to pure harmony in proportion as we understand and respect the rights of true individuality. When we measure up to regarding and treating others as we would have them regard and treat us, we measure up to a tenet that Christians call the Golden Rule. But aspirations somewhat similar to the Golden Rule are held in common by Judaism, Islam, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism -- all major religions.
Ideals outlive ideologies. Through the action of nonsectarian divine law, practices in individual spiritual regeneration, unprejudiced thinking gradually develops and disseminates to dissipate "holy" wars, verbal or violent. But the quality of impartial loving doesn't need a future rebirth in order to calm differences. It can be instantly effective.
As a moral step toward harmony, obedience to the spirit of the Golden Rule may be trampled upon but never trampled out.The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, n2 though at times maligned for her convictions, consistently chose to love people of all creeds and people of no creeds. She steadfastly maintained her declared position: "I would no more quarrel with a man because of his religion than I would becuase of his art." n3
n2 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n3 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,m p . 270;
Mrs. Eddy reverently yearned: "I would that all the churches on earth could unite as breathen in one prayer: Father, teach us the life of Love." n4 Her prayer, cherished by anyone who would heal discord, will n ourish mankind's capacity to live at peace.
n4 ibid.,m p. 301.
Though intolerence would seem especially virulent in certain "trouble spots" of the world, it cannot prevent our proving that God, all-harmonious Mind, is everywhere. Each acknowledgement of spiritual truth lessens the sum total of belief in something apart from God and increases the sum realization of heaven, within and without.
We all must ultimately arrive at one faith, derived from the spiritual understanding the issues from one Mind. To speed our realization of heaven on earth, we can direct oru critical energies inward. If we discipline our thoughts, words, and deeds by conscientiously living the best system of moral and spiritual law we now know, we will learn to value fairly all sincere effort to do right. Our cheerful, uncondemning participation in the universal brotherhood of man can keep pace with our growing conviction that no other creator and no other creation can possibly exist but Love and its all-loving children.
Intolerence cannot survive the powerful restorative energies of forgiveness and mercy. The whole world brightens in the healing glow of appreciation for true individuality -- an appreciation that grows with each division to be more discerning of the man God created. DAILY BIBLE VERSE There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, . . . forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you so also do ye. Colossians 3:11-13