Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Loving ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Loving ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

While I was sitting down and reading in a small bookstore, a woman sauntered in. After watching her pick up a book and a few cassettes, I noticed her hands fumbling inside her sweatjacket. She had stolen the book and tapes.

What to do? Turn her in? Go back to my book and pretend I didn't know what she had done?

Whenever I face difficult decisions, I pray. To me, prayer is a mental "turning away" from the human goings-on, and a deep and quiet recognition of the right-now and total presence of God. Prayer is affirmation that life is spiritual, that it is completely good, just like God.

Back in the bookstore, I prayed with thoughts like these. The idea that came to me was kind of shocking: "Love the woman."

Love someone who had just committed a crime? Sounds preposterous, but I knew the type of love that was needed. It involved seeing the woman as God sees her; in other words, as His/Her daughter, composed of God-given, spiritual qualities.

I knew very well from my own experience, and from the many incidents in the Bible, that loving like this in tough situations isn't a cockamamie idea, but is totally practical because it heals, redeems, and liberates.

I've experienced the redemptive and healing power of love countless times. As a teenager, I traveled frequently with my grandmother. On one trip to San Francisco, Gram was tired one afternoon, so she sent me out to sightsee alone. "Go to the Mark Hopkins Hotel, and take in the panoramic view from the top," she said.

When I returned to our hotel that evening, she asked, "Did you see the view?"

"Uh, yeah," I said nervously. I hadn't gone to the Mark Hopkins Hotel. But I didn't want to admit it.

Gram saw right through the lie. She was stern, but she was also loving. I don't recall her precise words, but, in essence, she told me that no matter what I did, she loved me because she loved God, and I was God's child, His/Her reflection. She told me that no matter how much we may feel that lying is the right or cool thing to do, it never really is. …

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