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True brotherhood

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Millions of people have become endeared to a fictional creature from outer space that stands forty inches tall and has gray-green skin. It's not so much E.T.'s appearance that warms our hearts; rather, it's his capacity to communicate, express affection, and break earthly fetters - such as gravity.

Do we earthlings cherish each other for our individual abilities, regardless of physical appearances? Not always. There are parts of the world where races and nations are bitterly divided. Though progress has been made, we have a long way to go before mankind is truly one family.

Throughout history, there was never a man more caring in word and deed than Christ Jesus. The core of his lifework was to reveal to mankind the healing, comforting, redeeming power of God, divine Love. It was his perfect understanding of his Father that enabled Jesus to be such a wonderful example for us. Christ Jesus knew God, communed with Him moment by moment, and thus could show us how to live Love.

Think of the master Christian's compassionate dealing with the leper who came to him for healing. Here was someone who was excluded from society for his ''uncleanness.'' (It was unlawful in Biblical times to touch a leper or even come within six feet of him.) Through Christly love, Jesus not only approached the man but freed him of the dread disease. n1

n1 See Mark 1:40-42.

Do we today yearn to express something of this deep Christian love? Perhaps the key to doing so is in the opening words of the Lord's Prayer: ''Our Father.'' n2

n2 See Matthew 6:9-13.

As the Bible teaches, God, our Father, created man in His image. Therefore, everyone is truly worthy of affection. Each one, made in the likeness of Spirit, has a spiritual identity we can begin to discern and cherish. This identity is completely good, and it is man's only genuine selfhood.

We discover the Godlikeness of others not through physical appraisal but through spiritual perception. To the degree that we love God we're able to discern the blessedness of His children.

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