The other night I dreamed that I was writing a letter. "We are pleased to inform you," I dictated in good business letter prose, "that God is Love." I awakened with a smile in my heart, and great gratitude for the person who, centuries ago, informed the world, "God is love" (I John 4:8).
For me, the fact that God is Love itself opens the way to fulfill the commands to love our neighbor as ourselves and even to love our enemies. It seems impossible to find of ourselves alone enough affection to love the perpetrators of horrific violence.
But recognizing that love comes from God, we can find the compassion at least to pray for those who are performing the inhuman acts we hear about in the news. And I am sure that it is only through some recognition of the power of Love that the wicked will awake to their misdeeds and reach out for reformation.
Of course, it's not only the perpetrators of heinous acts who need reform but everyone involved. And, in fact, reformed and redeemed thinking is called for in the hearts of each us.
Recently, someone called me on the telephone, saying many unkind things. Although I felt he didn't really mean what he was saying but was speaking out of frustration, the words still hurt me. Even after he'd hung up, I found myself mentally arguing with him. In fact, I had a very fitful night, constantly arguing. There was a lot of self-pity in my response, and I found myself wanting to say how much his words had hurt me.
In spite of my turmoil, I could still pray, and I insisted that this individual, as well as myself, was the image and likeness of God. I remembered that God is Love and that the likeness of Love is loving. If what had gone on before lacked love, then it had no continuity nor staying power and would be corrected.
The next day he called to apologize, and I could honestly assure him that I knew he hadn't really meant what he'd said.
In the textbook of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Divine Love corrects and governs man" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," page 6).
While it is vitally important to love others, neighbors and enemies included, recognizing that God is Love fulfills an even greater need in our lives - the need to be freed from fear. That wonderful biblical digest of love, quoted from earlier, also says: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment" (I John 4:18).
Before I found this passage, I often ignored outbursts of anger or impatience, whether they were coming from me or others, justifying these outbursts as resulting from fear. Also, I frequently made decisions based on fear, choosing not to do something that would have been the right thing to do. Of course, fear has torment, as the Bible says, but if we confront it instead of honoring it and make our decisions from the basis that God is Love, it ceases to torment us.
The first time I gained a certain sense that God is Love, I knew in my heart that this God would fill fearful and barren places in my life, of which there were many. Subsequently, we had two children when it seemed there would be none, years filled with joyous, satisfying work and mutually helpful relationships. Today when I'm confronted with fear or emptiness, I remind myself that the Love that is God is present right now to fill the empty or fear-filled place.
" 'God is Love.' More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go," wrote Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health, page 6). It is our pleasure indeed to inform others, through our words and our deeds, that God is Love. And, I might add, whether awake or asleep, we are always capable of hearing this great truth, as the biblical writer did so many centuries ago.
God hath not given us
the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love,
and of a sound mind.
II Timothy 1:7