Overcoming Hatred with Love
By William Milford Correll
From the May 18, 1968 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel
One of the most urgent problems of the present day is the overcoming of hatred with love. This problem ranges from the broadest international context to the most intimate human relationship. No one is exempt from this necessity. It has much to do with our experiencing health and harmony, and it is pertinent both to individual and nation.
This is a well-worn religious topic, but it is so fundamental that it needs an ever deeper investigation and a constant renewal of our efforts. The tension between races, the disagreement on national policies, the clash of moral standards, and the disruption of family life are all situations that involve hatred and malice. If we do not ameliorate these mental states, they in turn give rise to problems of health and individual survival. One cannot harbor hate in his heart and expect to be unaffected by it.
Such warnings are not new, but they need to be repeated. Christ Jesus pointed this out in his Sermon on the Mount. The disciple John emphasized it time and again. And in strong language Mrs. Eddy gives us this instruction: "Hate no one; for hatred is a plaguespot that spreads its virus and kills at last. If indulged, it masters us; brings suffering upon suffering to its possessor, throughout time and beyond the grave."1
It may be that we do not always detect this error and name it for what it is. It has a variety of disguises. It sometimes appears as self-righteousness and self-justification. It often appears as materialism warring against spiritual advancement. Hatred and sensuality have a very close affinity. The problem is allied to personal sense, which would separate one's own good from the good of his neighbor. It thrives on ignorance, suspicion, distrust.
But either as agent or victim, one can find freedom from this error; and he can find the way to protect his experience from aggressive evil. Christian Science emphasizes the nature of God as the one Father-Mother God, as universal, omnipotent, divine Love. This Love or Principle is all-embracing, ever present, all-pervading. As one acknowledges the presence and power of this divine Principle, he feels the purifying and protecting care of the Almighty. Opening thought to the divine influence counteracts hatred, purges human consciousness, and liberates the individual from sin, disease, and death.
To love intelligently one must have a right concept of man. The nature of God as absolute good, pure Spirit, unfolds the nature of man in God's likeness. The real man has no other nature than good, and this is the true identity of each individual. To love our brother man is to behold his true nature.
The wrong concept of man as a lying, deceitful, selfish, materially-minded individual comes from the carnal, or mortal, mind, which is the supposed opposite of God, the divine Mind. We are always called upon to challenge this false mind, to displace the erroneous concept of man with the true idea. If we hate someone, we are obviously holding the wrong concept in mind. And Christian Science teaches that what one holds in his consciousness has a marked effect upon his experience. It is suicidal to hate. But it is life-giving and health-producing to love.
Jesus said, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you."2 The influence of Christian Science in unfolding the transforming and healing power of divine Love has roused the resistance of evil. This shows up in aggressive forms of materialism. Mrs. Eddy says in the textbook, Science and Health, "Until the author of this book learned the vastness of Christian Science, the fixedness of mortal illusions, and the human hatred of Truth, she cherished sanguine hopes that Christian Science would meet with immediate and universal acceptance."3
But Jesus' example in overcoming hatred with love gives hope to the human race in every age. It can be done; and Christ, as the true idea of God, shows us the way. Christ shows us the unreality of evil either as cause or effect. It enables us to see through the conflagrations, the violent eruptions, the subtle or obvious opposition to Truth, and to prove the presence and power of divine Principle. Love reveals the fact that all men have one common good, that there is actually no conflict of interests, that good is infinite and available to all, that there is no valid basis for suspicion and distrust. The oneness of God establishes the oneness of man as God's reflection.
Each one can watch his thoughts and acts and see if they manifest the qualities of God. He can denounce hate wherever he finds it and counteract it with love. Mrs. Eddy says: "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."4 Only the forces of God are adequate to meet the need of today.
William Milford Correll