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Discovering tenderness in our world

From the June 1992 issue of The Christian Science Journal

She came down the steps of her town house, apparently ready for a trip into the city. At the bottom she was stopped short. There was a man stretched out, asleep on the sidewalk.

She tried to waken him but could not. Then she noticed his poorly clad feet. Going back upstairs to her son's room, she found some clean socks and a pair of sneakers that fitted the man and put those on his feet. When finally he was awake, sitting up and thanking her, she continued on her way.

A neighbor working in her garden down the street saw what had taken place and told me about it. This woman's small act of kindness certainly has elements of Jesus' story of the Samaritan who cared so tenderly for the man he found lying wounded by the side of the road.

Yet the troubles this man was suffering need more care, and as we look around our own neighborhoods and cities, we can hardly turn a corner without meeting someone who is virtually saying, "I need someone to look after me." Yet the Bible tells us in many different ways, "God is looking after you." Does that sound like an empty, remote promise?

Far from empty or impractical, it is a divine promise, which is even now revealing a healing love in our world. Given the all too harsh evidences of sickness, hunger, abuse, or just plain cold indifference, tenderness may not seem so readily apparent. But it's here—always. How can we be sure? Because God, infinite Love, is here, and He is the source of everything gentle and kind.

A relative of ours underwent an operation for intestinal cancer. After the operation the doctors sadly admitted that the operation had been unsuccessful and predicted that the individual had probably only about a year to live.

At this point all further medical treatment was discontinued. The young woman turned to God, with the help of Christian Science, for healing. Her health was completely restored. Six years later when she met one of the doctors, he shook his head in disbelief.

What had reversed the harshness of predicted tragedy? Clearly it was the quiet, powerful presence of God, understood through the depth of prayer. The young woman's brother, who was a Christian Science practitioner, had come from another state to devote his entire time to praying with her. Together they studied the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy.

The woman's spiritually famished thought was being nourished with a new understanding of God as ever-present divine Love. She began to see that what Jesus knew to be true of man—that he is God's spiritual image and likeness—had to be true of each of us as well. As the offspring of divine Spirit our true, Godlike nature—distinct from the flesh—is spiritual, upheld by the strength of the supreme Mind, God, the all-embracing Love. After three weeks she felt freer, more energetic, and happier than she ever had previously. And the predicted pain and symptoms were never experienced.

More people are finding that spiritual healing is not a miracle of blind faith but a normal, natural part of Christian life that naturally occurs as we strive for a deeper understanding of God. The New Testament sums up in three simple words, "God is love," all the tender ways in which God reveals Himself in the Old Testament: as light, full of joy and comfort, able to strengthen, uphold, guide, save, restore. The constancy of God's love makes Him reliable in gentleness.

Sometimes the experiences we have, even though we're asking for God's help, seem anything but gentle. We need to go back to the Bible to find the support we need.

The Science of Christianity helps us to see that the Principle behind Christ Jesus' healings is God, infinite Love, and not a limited, personal power that helps some but not others. This infinite Principle, eternal Love, is unlimited, loving all equally and impartially.

How does God show His impartiality? Christians have always recognized God's infinite care by the flood of love He creates in our hearts. Would anyone ever know God is universal Love unless one felt loving and lived a life that showed it?

This explains that God's purpose for us is to express what perfect Love is—to reflect, or manifest, God's nature as His spiritual creation, made in the divine likeness. God reveals Himself as divine Mind by expressing through man intelligence and understanding. God reveals Himself as immortal Life by expressing through man creativity, usefulness, spontaneity. He declares Himself to be tender Soul by expressing through man quietness and peace.

Everyone has access to this God-impelled quietness within himself—on a busy street corner, in a teeming office, at breakfast on the first day of school. It's easy to recognize. It's seen in our love, expressing the divine nature in unselfishness and kindness. It may start with modest acts such as providing shoes for someone, as my friend's neighbor did. But this love has a momentum that can't be defined by isolated acts. Unselfish, Christly caring is more than a humane gesture when it springs from a glimpse of divine power. Its healing and transforming power cannot be underestimated, and it spreads.

How does God show
His impartiality?
Christians have always
recognized God's
infinite care by the
flood of love He
creates in our hearts.
Would anyone ever
know God is universal
Love unless one felt
loving and lived a life
that showed it?

"What has not unselfed love achieved for the race?" Mrs. Eddy asks. She goes on to say that "the good done, and the love that foresees more to do, stimulate philanthropy and are an ever-present reward." Miscellaneous Writings, p. 238 In the quietness of the deep desire to help humanity understand the spiritual reality of existence, Mrs. Eddy learned what it means for us to reflect God's universal love in prayer and action, and how this brings healing to someone's harshest experiences.

Quietness is a precious commodity today. We're so often surrounded by human voices of hurt and sorrow on television, radio, in family life. But quietness can be for the world's spiritual advantage when it means we're prayerfully listening for active ways to demonstrate more of God's infinitely caring nature and to make it easier for someone else to overcome the burdens of daily life.

When moving his family to a new location, the patriarch Jacob must have seen this. Didn't he say, as the account in the book of Genesis in the Bible tells us, "I will lead on softly"? Gen. 33:14

Imagine what this attitude would do for millions of people today. "I will lead on softly." We can't go and say that to every refugee or hungry child or unemployed person or hurting individual in the world. But we can feel this tender regard in our own daily attitude and in our contacts with others. And that's a definite start in the right direction if we want to live in an age that finds the gentleness of God's love expressed in our world through genuine Christian caring and healing.

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