IN answer to a family misunderstanding that had caused hurt feelings, two letters were written, one after the other. The first letter had all the pleasantries in it, all the formalities, all the reasons and explanations. It was a ``correct'' letter, to be sure. But for all its correctness, something seemed lacking, and it did little to remove the hurt.
Then the second letter came. This letter also provided an explanation. But it had something better. It had love--real love for the hurt family member. And that letter healed!
Families, communities, churches, companies, partnerships--most of us live and work in such groups. And within these frameworks, we think. We decide. We take action. Sometimes, there are difficult messages to communicate. Of course, our communications should be reasoned, logical, and, yes, correct.
But they should also--always--include love.
When we are writing or speaking to others, we should always be sure to include the ingredient that makes everything work, and that is love. Love listens and hears; love speaks and really communicates.
The love that does this is vastly more than just human affection, however. And sympathy is a nice quality, but our love needs more than that to gain the victory. The love that heals comes from God. It permeates God's very nature and being, which we reflect. In fact, the Bible tells us in I John, ``God is love'' and goes on to point out ``We love him, because he first loved us'' (4:16, 19).
This, then, is the first thing to remember: God is Love itself. The Founder of the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy, accepts that Biblical statement as meaning just what it says. She says in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ```God is Love,' More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go'' (p. 6).
This is not just a lofty philosophical premise. It has teeth, it makes an impression in our daily lives. There is something wonderful here. True love, love that endures and weathers all storms, has its source in God, divine Love. It penetrates to the heart, nothing can prevent its communication. It's constant, it shines like the sun. God is loving all that He creates. It permeates every pore of being.
Think what such God-bestowed love did for Christ Jesus' communications. He spoke! And he healed! In fact, his very speaking, his communication of God's love, healed! Luke records the people's response to one such healing: ``What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out'' (4:36). It was God's love for man that brought Christ Jesus to the world. And the Christ, God's message of love, is with us always.
Christ can bring the spirit of love to all of our living. Because love comes from God, our creator, expressing it is natural to us. It may, at times, require effort to let our love show, but it is always there, waiting to give fullest meaning to the words we use in our communications--both written and oral. Love--this heaven-sent, spiritually based love--is what makes us effective communicators.
Have you ever worked diligently on a letter, trying to say everything in just the right way? I know I have. And sometimes, I've found myself ripping that letter to shreds--it failed the ``love'' test. When I retraced my steps, writing from the perspective given by understanding God's love for man--loving each one with no one left out--the letter reappeared with real warmth.