HAVE you ever seen love working from the inside out? I know someone who did. She had just been hired for a great new job. Not long before her first day, however, her new superior told her of a complex set of relationship problems among the employees she would be directing. My friend's heart sank. It didn't promise to be an encouraging start! Since the news of the difficulty reached my friend several days before she started, she was able to do some preparation. And, as usual for her, prayer was an important part of it.
This prayer started humbly and simply, by looking away from the human drama and her own fears about dealing with the situation. Instead, she looked into the nature of God as divine Love and probed just how it is that God is governing man. This helped her see the individuals more as God created them, and less as others were seeing them.
Sometimes it seems easy to overlook the immediacy of that simple Biblical statement ``God is love.''1 Yet Love can work powerfully to heal on both sides of a conflict, as the Bible story of Jacob and Esau illustrates.2 Jacob had defrauded his brother Esau of his inheritance and fled to a distant country to escape Esau's revenge. Years later, in obedience to God, Jacob returns to face Esau. Not long before the meeting, messengers warn Jacob that Esau is coming to meet him with ``four hundred men.''
The Bible records Jacob as ``wrestling'' the night before meeting his brother. Reading the account, you get the feeling it was a night of wholehearted prayer on Jacob's part as he understood more of the actual presence of God as divine Love. From the inside out, God's love had changed Jacob. And apparently it had done the same for Esau, for the Bible says, ``And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.''
There isn't always any sweeping change in the externals, but the love of God, continuously working on the inside, brings the needed change to our lives. Christ Jesus says simply, ``The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.''3
God's creation of man is quite the opposite of the view that man is a mortal ``self'' competing -- and clashing -- with millions of others. Man's real selfhood is in the spiritual qualities found naturally in his creator, God. These aren't personal attributes, either; instead, they belong to a loving Father-Mother who expresses them impartially and fully in His universal family.
Of course, this spiritual living does require effort on our part, and those who have done this honestly, agree that it is ``labor,'' as Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes it. She says, ``In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, -- self-will, self-justification, and self-love, -- which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.''4
Truths like these freed my friend from worry about her new job. She also took the time to call all the people involved and tell them how important they were to the work and how much she was looking forward to working with them. There were still a few things to work out after she started her new job, but it wasn't long before the previous conflict had disappeared entirely.
1I John 4:8. 2See Genesis, chaps. 32, 33. 3Matthew 13:33. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 242.