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Divine Compassion

PEOPLE the world over need our prayerful compassion. Many are struggling under hardship, famine, even war. They need our compassion in the form of prayer that brings to light man under divine government. Understanding man's spiritual unity with God enables us to see His divine power and presence at work to free people from injustice and oppression. Our heartfelt compassion, when it is based on the certainty that God is a loving Father, caring for all of His children, can be a healing power impelling reform around the world. In the Bible there is a brief verse that never fails to move me. It says simply, ``Jesus wept.''1 He wept at the news of the death of his friend Lazarus. Christ Jesus' love for mankind included deep compassion. It was a divine compassion that turned to God and brought healing even in the midst of sorrow. When he reached the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus said, ``Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.''2 He then restored Lazarus to life.

Divine compassion is based on an understanding of God's eternal goodness. God Himself is good and the source of all good. The Bible assures us that man is God's image. Thus, in truth, man is spiritual and can never be separated from good. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Seek the Anglo-Saxon term for God, and you will find it to be good; then define good as God, and you will find that good is omnipotence, has all power; it fills all space, being omnipresent; hence, there is neither place nor power left for evil.''3

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Since God is the very source and essence of good, it is not possible for God's love to cease. His omnipresence includes only the eternal continuity of good expressed as loving care of His creation. Understanding this heals sorrow and restores harmony.

Human empathy, however, may often be based on accepting the premise that man's existence is solely material and terribly limited. Because it lacks the certainty that all good comes from God and is permanent, such empathy is liable to accept the suggestion that good can end. Thus pity, in sharing the heartache of another, can become susceptible to the same sorrow.

I learned this one day when our daughter called. Through her tears she struggled to tell me about her situation. It had been years since I had heard her cry so despondently, and I was over-come. I could say very little to comfort her because I was weep-ing too. After she hung up I realized that my human feelings were not of themselves all that was needed.

I began to pray. I knew that because God's omnipotent love governs every aspect of man's being, my daughter was safe in His care. I saw that His gentle presence could heal any discord and establish joy. Gradually I was able to accept God's healing presence. Within the week, my daughter called back to share her joy. A solution had been found.

Mrs. Eddy writes of this spiritual idea of the divine sympathy that strengthens and heals: ``God says, I show My pity through divine law, not through human. It is My sympathy with and My knowledge of harmony (not inharmony) which alone enable Me to rebuke, and eventually destroy, every supposition of dis-cord.''4

So then, when we are called upon to comfort someone, we do it most effectively when we prayerfully recognize God's eternal goodness, which heals discord and establishes harmony. This divine compassion is felt by others, and they are comforted, strengthened, and encouraged as they press on toward freedom.

1John 11:35. 2John 11:41. 3Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 13-14. 4Unity of Good, p. 18.

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