I saw a woman wearing a T-shirt the other day that said “Love is understanding.” It got me thinking, What is the purpose of love, and how does it act? Divine Love, which is God, reaches much further and deeper than human affection. It is the intelligent and compelling force of God’s creation, which we express with understanding, honesty, and compassion toward one another. Love’s purpose is a power that cannot be resisted or subdued.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes Love’s true purpose in a letter to a branch Church of Christ, Scientist: “It is the purpose of divine Love to resurrect the understanding, and the kingdom of God, the reign of harmony already within us. Through the word that is spoken unto you, are you made free. Abide in His word, and it shall abide in you; and the healing Christ will again be made manifest in the flesh—understood and glorified” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 154).
We can express this purpose of divine Love, bringing healing to our lives and others’, when we quiet the flow of selfish thoughts and are mentally still enough to truly understand one another. In Christian Science, we learn that there is one infinite Mind, God, which is universal, impartial, and unlimited. As the source of all understanding, Mind is never unjust, indifferent, or limited. And as God’s reflection, we naturally express this tender, loving Mind in our interactions with one another. A beautiful hymn declares, “We are all God’s children, expressions of one Mind” (Désirée Goyette, Christian Science Hymnal: Hymns 430–603, No. 592).
Christ Jesus came to demonstrate for us the true and active spirit of love and understanding. His parable of the good Samaritan shows the tenderness of divine Love—expressed in selfless care for others, honesty, and obedience—to be the only true governing power, not the callousness of human selfishness, dishonesty, or indifference. Our all-loving, all-powerful Mind compels us to act in accord with Jesus’ instruction to love our neighbor and to yield to divine Love’s absolute government and control in each situation in human experience.
Because man is the idea of God, good—and this includes every man, woman, and child—we can each rejoice in the freedom of divine Love to be and to do good.
Here’s one instance where, in a small but significant way, I had an opportunity to put God’s love into action in my own life. It was a very windy day, and I parked a bit too close to the car next to me in a parking lot. A gust of wind caused my car door to fly open and hit the other car. I could tell it was a brand-new car, and that whoever owned it must have really loved it. I felt impelled to go inside the restaurant, find the owner, and offer to pay for the repair. The young man who owned the car was disappointed, as he had just purchased the vehicle a few days before. However, instead of being angry, he was very kind and expressed gratitude that I had told him right away what had happened. We exchanged contact information, and he kept me informed of each estimate he got as he tried to find the lowest price for the repair. The entire experience was harmonious for both of us, and we enjoyed getting to know one another. The car was fixed quickly, and in a few days, it was completely restored to its original condition.
This simple experience caused me to feel really grateful for the truths I was learning in Christian Science and how I could apply them in everyday life. Instead of feeling guilty or ashamed, or accepting the lie that life is subject to accident, injury, or chance, I rejoiced quietly and humbly that I’d felt an unhesitating impulsion to be honest, kind, and loving. I began to consider more deeply what it was that had prompted me to act in a Christly manner.
Mrs. Eddy describes this motivation in this way: “On the swift pinions of spiritual thought man rises above the letter, law, or morale of the inspired Word to the spirit of Truth, whereby the Science is reached that demonstrates God” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 238).
Even though no one else witnessed this incident, and I could have walked away without admission of fault, I felt impelled by divine Love to be honest. If I had walked away, I would have missed an opportunity to express the Christ in action, and to learn the lesson that spiritual goodness prevails over the indifference of material sense.
A direct result of my willingness to act honestly and to disregard any temptation to stay quiet and “save face” was that Love’s provision met not only the young man’s need, but mine, too. A few weeks later, my husband and I received a notice from our mortgage company stating that they owed us some money they had withheld when we purchased our home four years earlier, and the check we received more than covered the cost incurred to repair the young man’s car.
God is the active power enabling us to fulfill Jesus’ admonitions, “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12), and “Love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 19:19), so these are not impossible demands, but beautiful expressions of God’s ever-present understanding, protection, and love for His creation. God’s creation, divine Love’s own spiritual reflection of itself, is perfect and harmonious here and now. Our God-given ability and willingness to be governed by divine Principle, Love, proves the absolute powerlessness and inaction of any other so-called force, whether it is named evil, hatred, animal magnetism, or sin. It also reverses mental malpractice, which tempts us to think or act selfishly or indifferently, preventing us from doing the right thing. In every situation, expressing divine Love excludes feelings of resentment and hostility and propels us forward into Life, harmony, and unity with one another. Mrs. Eddy declares, “The law of God is the law of Spirit, a moral and spiritual force of immortal and divine Mind” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 257).
Because man is the idea of God, good—and this includes every man, woman, and child—we can each rejoice in the freedom of divine Love to be and to do good. As we hold to the divine fact that God alone is the only Mind or Principle governing man and the universe, subtle resistance to Truth, in the form of lack, limitation, or pride, is ruled out of consciousness, and therefore out of our human experience completely.
It is important for every Christian Scientist to practice daily the love that Christ Jesus demonstrated. Practicing this love is never insignificant, as the smallest act of kindness is imbued with the fullness of divine Love’s power and glory.
Mrs. Eddy writes, “Hungering and thirsting after a better life, we shall have it, and become Christian Scientists; learn God aright, and know something of the ideal man, the real man, harmonious and eternal” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 235).
Loving God and beholding “the real man” is living Christian Science; and doing so is not only a blessing to our own Church and community, but the actual demonstration of eternal Life. What could be a more satisfying and fulfilling purpose than that?