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Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Jesus advised loving god with "all our heart." And "our neighbor as ourselves."

But what about the prejudice and bigotry that prevent people from cherishing each individual as a neighbor? According to Christianity, not living up to the demand to care for one another, irrespective of human characteristics, constitutes a crime of hate.

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If you think about it, all crimes are really hate crimes. That is, the mental or physical impulse to ignore or rob or harm someone is the direct opposite of divine Love. The sum total of "man's inhumanity to man" involves the basic problem of not seeing our fellow beings as children of God.

God doesn't see us in separate groups - defined by wealth or poverty or ethnicity or sex or denomination. He sees us as spiritual, as His own children. And this is the way the infinite Principle demands that we see each other. Once we have understood this vision of who we are - a vision that's illuminated throughout the Holy Bible - influences that promote hatred and crime begin to dissolve.

My husband came to see more clearly how important it is to watch how we think and act toward one other. We'd bought a small house from our neighbor and had immediately rented it to a young couple who were expecting a baby. The day before the closing, we gave a key to the couple so they could get in to clean. To their dismay, the original owner came in, cursing and attacking them verbally; he told them there was to be no sale and forced them out of the house. They called my husband, very upset and sure they'd lost the opportunity to rent the house.

Well, my husband became furious. He felt he not only hated that man but wanted to punish him and do him bodily harm for treating those young people in such a despicable way. He felt his own anger consuming him and causing him to lose control. But he did seek the help and prayers of a woman he respected, endeavoring to solve the problem and gain emotional control.

She told him that the problem was not really in our neighbor; it was in his own thought about that man. The need was to begin seeing him as God saw him - to love him, actually!

All night long my husband paced the floor and prayed, trying hard to heal his thoughts of hatred. He realized that all the years he had lived next to our neighbor, he had thought of him pretty unkindly - as a bully, the nut of the neighborhood, a very difficult person. He had actually shared and promoted the views of others in the neighborhood.

As the sun broke over the mountains in the morning, he finally was able to let go of those views of the man. They were false because they opposed God's view. All his resentment vanished, and in its place he felt nothing but sincere love and compassion for our neighbor.

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Early that same morning, the man called to apologize - profoundly. He asked forgiveness. He assured us he would be at the closing and would sign the final papers. The young husband and wife were able to move in several days later.

Whenever we look at people with hatred or distrust - be it induced by bigotry, ignorance, or apparent justification - we are seeing a falsity. To hate is to oppose God, for the Bible says that "God is love" (I John 4:16).

In order to be loved by others, we need to have the love Jesus talked about. The love that recognizes our neighbor as God's child. This way of thinking is the only solution to hate or any other destructive activity.

According to Mary Baker Eddy's book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (pg. 340), "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, - whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed."

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

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