Love one another
A Christian Science perspective: How prayer stopped gang violence.
While walking in the hallway of my high school, I found myself facing a gang of young men who didn’t attend the school. I was quickly surrounded as they announced their intent to rape and kill me. At this point, I stopped walking and prayed to God for help. This prayer wasn’t mere pleading, however. I turned to God silently with an understanding that God is All, and all good, and that His will for His creation – including me and all His children – is only good. I was confident that God could not allow anyone to be a victim or a victimizer, because as All, God isn’t at war with Himself, and as divine Love, God has made His ideas harmonious. At that moment, instead of fear, I felt divine Love’s presence and was flooded with compassion for these men. The immediate result of praying this way appeared to have caught the attention of their apparent leader, because just before the men touched me, he told the others to let me pass. And they did.
This is one of many experiences that taught me the power of loving one another. It not only results in happiness, but healing and even protection. A hymn I grew up singing emphasized this with the command: “Love one another” (Margaret Morrison, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 179, © CSBD). The study of Christian Science has taught me that good is divine Love, or God, the Father of us all, always with us – and that divine Love is impartial, universal, and never absent. As we grow to understand divine Love and that we are children of Love, we begin to see that man is naturally loving, loved, and lovable.
Understanding this relationship between God and man enables us to prove the protecting power of divine Love for ourselves and others. But our ability to experience spiritual power isn’t accomplished through some supernatural intervention. God, Spirit, works as the irresistible power of good reflected in consciousness to enlighten, purify, and reform the individual.
Jesus explained in his Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5-7) that God’s power would be seen and felt by those who are meek, merciful, pure in heart, and who “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of the laws of the divine power Jesus taught and employed, explained: “Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 192).
I do not feel that it was coincidental or miraculous that the gang left me alone. I believe that my prayer brought to light the evidence of the natural power of divine, universal Love. My defense in that situation had started years before as a student in a Christian Science Sunday School, where I learned that living God’s Commandments and the Beatitudes in my daily life makes one receptive to the transformational power of love.
Seeing divine Love prayerfully lived by loving even our enemies can promote protection and healing, and inspires me to continue in right-doing daily. It encourages me to trust the power of prayer, especially where it appears there’s nothing I can do personally to help. By understanding more of the fullness of God, Spirit, as impartial and universal Love, I can pray to understand that in reality, evil has no power or presence as a person, government, system, function, or influence. According to the teachings of Christ Jesus, evil is not a legitimate power or force. Evil is not superior or even equal to good, and discord is neither normal nor necessary. So it is that our divine Parent enables each of us to prove God’s goodness and our freedom from wrong.
To love one another is a divine demand; and in fulfilling this demand comes the God-given ability to demonstrate Love’s power. Understanding the nature of God, and man’s spiritual, indestructible relationship to Him, enables us to avail ourselves of the power of divine Love to help ourselves and others by putting good first in our affections and pursuits. Step by step, living the spiritual qualities of divine Love Jesus promoted – such as honesty, meekness, and charity – will overcome fear, hatred, and revenge. Thus, we can prove what the “Love one another” hymn indicates: “Love frees from error’s thrall, – Love is liberation…. He that loves shall walk with God. Love is the royal way” (Hymn 179).