Archive for the ‘relationships’ Category

Live as ‘children of light’   Leave a comment

shutterstock_74750959In the Bible, the Apostle Paul says, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). The Message by Eugene Peterson interprets the passage this way: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

I decided to be alert from that moment on to every thought I entertained about my fellow countrymen. I made sure that I was always aware of each as the loved child of God, who is Love.

How freeing it was for me to know that in God’s kingdom there are neither victims nor aggressors—neither victims nor enforcers of a false system of government—and that every man, woman, and child is a citizen of the world…

I turned in prayer to the Bible for the answer and read in Ephesians, “Now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (5:8). This was my answer. This was God’s creation, these were God’s children, and I loved what I was learning…. God’s creation reflects the fullness of Soul’s colorful creation in its myriad individual ways.

I felt great peace come over me. With joyous expectancy, I drove into the township the next day, and all I could see were children of light. Light seemed to be wherever I went, as I met only love, kindness, beauty, and thoughtfulness. The meeting with the students included no barriers at all. There was no restriction between us because of color, no restriction because of age, no restriction caused by any belief of inferiority or superiority, no restriction because of the different tribes and cultures present. Only citizens of the world were present, and we were claiming and expressing our divine right, the “liberty of the children of God.”

Read or listen to here how Yvonne Prinsloo changed her experience after growing up under apartheid,  to one that was all-inclusive and race was not a factor in her article Dissolve racism: Live as ‘children of light’ published in The Christian Science Sentinel

“there are no outsiders”   Leave a comment

Beyond skin color

Today’s contributor reflects on lessons he learned as he prayed about prejudice after moving from Congo to Norway – and how those lessons continue to shape the way he sees others.

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……..My first thought was, “I’m going to deny his request just so he can feel what it’s like to be rejected!” But just as I heard my own answer, I immediately thought, “Of course you’re not going to do that.” From the very first day we’d lived in Norway, my parents had urged us to look past differences, look past color….

One of the biggest lessons it taught me is that we really are all brothers and sisters. The spiritual reality is that we aren’t material beings divided into separate races and living in separate nations; we all live in God’s kingdom – the kingdom of heaven, which Christ Jesus told us is right here, right now. Prayer to better understand God as the true creator of us all can open our eyes to the presence of this kingdom, helping us realize there are no outsiders. No one is outside good, outside divine Love. It isn’t being of the same race or culture that makes us “in” with others. It’s God. It’s knowing that we are living in God’s kingdom as God’s offspring, because that’s God’s truth. This is a very effective way of combating prejudice, because it starts from the basis of oneness, rather than divisions.

So I changed my answer. I began thinking of this individual with love. I thought: “As God’s son, he could never harm me; he can only reflect goodness.”

What if we did this for everyone we met? What if we let God show us the true individuality of each of His ideas – as spiritual, uniquely colorful, and wonderful?

This article from The Christian Science Monitor’s : A Christian Scientist’s Perspective was written by Christian Kongolo. Read or listen to the entire article here

Be comforted and comforting. It’s good for your health   1 comment

Sometimes life can seem too hard to bear. When this happens we need to be comforted – to receive a gentle hug, comforting words, a helping hand, or other supportive actions. Such compassionate and thoughtful attention can lessen grief, make distress seem lighter, and bring healing relief. These tender outcomes demonstrate how allowing yourself to be comforted, or giving comfort to someone else, is beneficial, and therefore is good for your health.

BE COMFORTED BY OTHERS

When difficult times come along, being comforted by a family member, friend or work colleague, can help ease feelings of sorrow, reduce worry, strengthen courage and inspire hope.

 

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TIPS:

– Humbly accept someone’s gift of caring. Comfort is love. It’s a spiritual quality that soothes hurt and brings peace. Never be too proud to be comforted by others.

– Allow the comfort of others to inspire you. Comfort is hope. It’s courage to overcome trouble through the uplifting “wisdom, Truth, or Love — [that] blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort… ”. Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health p. 234

– If you’re alone. Don’t feel comfortless. There‘s a divine Love always present with you. And just like a mother, that Love is supporting, comforting and strengthening you, now and always.

BE COMFORTING TO OTHERS

Bless others. Comfort them. Help restore their wellbeing, contentment and security.

TIPS:

– Comfort your children. In times of tragedy remind them that good is always present. Fred Rogers, a popular American children’s’ TV show host, relates how as a boy when he saw scary things in the news, his mother would say to him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”. To this day, especially in times of disaster, he says, “I remember my mother’s words, and I’m always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

– Express your mothering qualities. Never withhold comforting words or actions. Be ready to console, reassure, encourage. Reach out to others through the divine Love “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received”. The Bible,

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– Be brave. Put aside any doubts. Do what you can to lessen someone’s sorrow. Don’t hold back. No matter how small or simple you think your words or actions are, be assured that if they come from your heart, they will be just right. You can be comforted and comforting. It’s good for your health.

ABOUT THE EXPERT:

Beverly Goldsmith writes about the connection between spirituality and health and is a Practitioner and Teacher of Christian Science healing. Twitter: @GoldsmithBev

 

 

#MeToo and the potential for healing   Leave a comment

Acknowledging everyone’s true nature as inherently whole can bring freedom and healing, even in the wake of sexual assault or harassment.

Most of those active on social media recently will have seen posts in their feed including the hashtag #MeToo. The #MeToo campaign was started in 2007 by Tarana Burke, in order to help sexual assault survivors. It has trended since Oct. 15, when actress Alyssa Milano invited women to highlight the magnitude of the problem of sexual harassment and assault by using the hashtag and sharing their stories.

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Ms. Burke said that the phrase “me too” was intended as “a catchphrase to be used from survivor to survivor to let folks know that they were not alone and that a movement for radical healing was happening and possible.” I agree. As large as the problem of sexual harassment and assault is, it helps me to remember that the potential for prevention and healing is even more impressive…..

 All of my engagement along these lines is empowered by seeing and loving myself and others as God made us: as God’s spiritual children, composed of indestructible God-given qualities such as joy, peace, and wholeness.

 I am heartened by the support I have received, and by all the prayers, conversations, and actions coming forward as a result of the #MeToo campaign. May it continue. And may we increasingly discover that evil is not inherently a part of anyone, male or female, nor is it the ultimate power. Instead, may all feel the tender but mighty touch of the infinite good that is God – omnipresent, omnipotent, divine Love – that protects us, washes us clean, reforms us, redeems us, and causes us to rise up renewed, in ever fresh and increasing expressions of mutual freedom, blessings, and love.

This article by Susie Jostyn is from a column: A Christian Science perspective in The Christian Science Monitor, to read the full version click here

To read about one of Ms. Jostyn’s experiences and related ideas, check out her article published in the Nov. 7, 2011, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

 

You can support diversity without fear   Leave a comment

“Scientists have made a powerful discovery that appears able to improve everyone’s life. Reports indicate it works on individuals, families, communities, economies, and nations. Interestingly, it appears that too little of this substance may explain the coarsening of language and the hardening of hearts so evident in politics and the media. Lack of it also might be responsible for everything from substance abuse to the anxiety many people say they feel despite the unprecedented security, better health, and affluence the world is experiencing. And here’s the kicker: It’s free, it’s abundant, and you can’t overdose on it.” (John Yemma, Christian Science Monitor)

And the often disregarded, but indispensable substance?

Brotherly love!

Evidence of this love is discovered in quiet acts of empathy and encouragement demonstrated by caring people from all walks of life. For instance, the mature gent in the queue at the supermarket checkout who steps up to pay the balance for the mother of two pre-schoolers who is caught short. Or the young female social media whiz who creates social change through her dedication to affirming the good while gently dismantling prejudice.

 

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Then there’s the hospice chaplain offering simple words of comfort and walking a patient or family member through a process that aims to help them find meaning according to their own faith, or no faith.

Brotherly love, you could say, is at the heart of chaplaincy, pastoral care and spiritual services. But chaplains are not alone in wondering how extensively they need to demonstrate that care.

That was the question asked at last year’s Spiritual Care Australia Conference. Practitioners representing the world’s major faith traditions, as well as many others, who work at the coalface in hospitals, hospices and prisons came together to grow in their understanding of how best to meet the needs of the diverse groups of people they encounter day-to-day, and to better relate to them and celebrate them.

Just as the broader community are questioning stereotypes and thinking differently about ethnicity, culture, faith, race, nationality, skin colour, age, sexuality and gender, spiritual carers are also challenged by new paradigms. Armed with a similar acknowledgement of a higher power as man’s common source, these carers have something in their toolbox that can help them prayerfully reconsider sincerely held beliefs that might prevent them from embracing diversity wholeheartedly.

In the Christian faith, diversity is championed by its followers. “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:” (I Corinthians, The Message)

Hearing the heart-felt stories of individuals representing the transgender, LGBTI community, as well as Multifaith and multicultural communities, greatly enhanced my empathy and compassion for those in the community who have different stories to tell.

In the wider community we may well seem to be different—by reason of race, gender, culture, nationality. But this is a limited view of how to see ourselves and others, when we judge identity from a predominantly material perspective. Beyond that, I’ve learned, we each have a spiritual sense through which we can more deeply feel and experience kinship with others as the offspring of the multifaceted, divine Spirit, and not formed after the pattern of mortal personality, passion and tribalism (as explained in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures).

Divine qualities and ideas are as infinite as their divine Source and so it stands to reason that they can be expressed in an endless variety of ways; yet never deviating from Spirit’s pure and good nature. In fact, we can’t help but express kindness, forgiveness and respect to everyone, as we learn that each individual uniquely reflects divine Love itself. And governed by this Love, we aren’t just safe in relation to one another; we can welcome ever more constructive and beautiful relationships with a broader array of fellow citizens.

The brotherly regard that can be offered at the supermarket, on social media or in the sickroom might best follow the principles of interfaith dialogue: to love our neighbor, regardless of their faith…culture… race…gender practices, and to build not just tolerant relationships, but respectful ones.

The writer of this article, Kay Stroud is working for the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Northern-Eastern Australia. More from this writer: www.health4thinkers.com

This article was first published on the Sunshine Coast Daily.

LOVE FOR ALL MANKIND   Leave a comment

The Commitment to love  

These words from a poem by Robert Burns, “Man’s inhumanity to man / Makes countless thousands mourn,” describe how hearts everywhere felt when they heard the news last month of a group of teens who taunted and laughed as they watched a man drown, doing nothing to help. Turning to prayer, contributor Judy Cole was reminded of Christ Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan, which so clearly illustrates Jesus’ words: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). To love – to be filled with a spiritual and pure love for our neighbor in a world where hate seems prevalent – is the only genuine way to contribute to the lessening of hate and brutality in the world. As the children of God, nothing can stop us from loving in such a powerful and healing way.

What is it that enabled Jesus to love despite the heinous treatment he witnessed against others and

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that was directed at him? His works point to the profound understanding he had of God as divine Love itself, infinitely more powerful than all the hatred he encountered.

The founder of The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy – who faced much injustice in her life – once wrote: “I will love, if another hates. I will gain a balance on the side of good, my true being. This alone gives me the forces of God wherewith to overcome all error” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 104).

Read the full article from The Christian Science Monitor’s : A Christian Scientist’s Perspective by Judy Cole here

“Dinner” with the enemy   Leave a comment

By Jenny Sawyer

My group of friends and I really didn’t like the way this one girl was acting. She was rude, and she put others down to make herself look good. She’d also singled me out for particularly bad treatment. …

IMG_1310Even though Christ Jesus lived two thousand years ago, I still think of him as my go-to expert on relationships. So in considering how I could think more constructively about this girl, maybe even learn to love her, I took a look at the New Testament in the Bible to see how Jesus treated people who weren’t behaving their best. What I noticed was that Jesus willingly spent time with these individuals whom the Bible calls “sinners.” He even had dinner with them!

Are we willing to sit down, really take the time, and be witnesses to the God-created, good, spiritual nature in those we feel we dislike, even despise? I’ve taken to inviting one person each day to dinner—metaphorically speaking—be it an authority figure I’m unhappy with, or someone I feel hasn’t treated me very nicely. Then, in that quiet place of prayer, I sit with my concept of them until it’s polished, transformed….

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