IN the twenty-second chapter of Matthew it is written that when the Pharisee asked, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." From these words of Jesus we conclude that he considered the second commandment of nearly, if not quite equal importance to the first, and as necessary to be obeyed. Many have put forth their very best efforts to obey this command, and yet have seemed to fail. Then there arises the question, Why does it appear to be so difficult to love our neighbor as ourself? The answer is, Because we have believed that to be our neighbor which in no way resembles man, the real man. We are not asked, as we may have believed for so long, to love that which is unlovely—the hate, jealousy, resentment, revenge, envy, which claim to constitute such a large part of some mortals. The distinction between the real man, the man of God's creating, and the unreal or mortal was clearly discerned by Christ Jesus.
Until the advent of Christian Science, to love one's neighbor perfectly was a task apparently almost impossible of accomplishment. Through the study of Christian Science, which explains what man is, we learn how to love our neighbor as ourself. As we progress in the understanding of the truth about man, we realize that we are not expected to love the seeming qualities which are the very opposites of the real, and are never any part of man. On page 475 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mrs. Eddy, our beloved Leader, has given us a scientific definition of man. There she says: "Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements. The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. Matter is not that likeness. The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit. Man is spiritual and perfect; and because he is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science. Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique." Man the image of Love! Should it be a difficult task to love this man, the man whom God creates, the man who is always perfect, the perfect expression of the all-loving Mind, which is God? No; because there is nothing unloving or unlovable in man's entire being, since all the thoughts or ideas constituting his individuality are emanations from divine Mind. Therefore man is at-one with, and inseparable from, divine Mind, even as a ray of light is at-one with the sun. And this Mind, of which man is the expression, is Love.
We are able to love our neighbor in the ratio that we understand man as God's perfect child. Writing of Jesus, on pages 476 and 477 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy says: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." It is "sinning mortal man" which we have been seeing and have tried to love, but could not. But as we begin to see our real selves, and the real selves of others, as they are and must continue to be throughout all eternity,—the exact reflections of divine Mind, expressing life, truth, and love, the qualities of divine Mind,—we begin to understand that man is lovable and loving now, and always will be.