Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Freedom to Love

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Freedom to Love

Article excerpt

I WAS not looking forward to making the telephone call. I thought the person I had to talk to was rude and ungrateful. But she was the only person with the information I needed now, so I had to get past my feelings.

Praying to know how I could love more, I was surprised by the thought: "This woman is as wonderful as you are. This had to be God's answer to my prayer because quite frankly my criticism of her was based squarely on the premise that I would never act as badly as she did. As I continued to pray, I began to realize that it was my behavior, not hers, that I could change. After all this time, my feelings were still hurt because she had, I felt, slighted me previously in a challenging situation. I asked God to help me love more freely.

I knew that God loves His creation unconditionally. His love transforms and redeems our lives. Prayer has the effect of bringing to the surface hidden errors and helps us correct the mistakes that have been uncovered. With great clarity I saw that the air of superiority I had attributed to her was no more a part of her than wounded pride was part of my real identity, which is spiritual. Both of us were, in reality, the child of God's creating. I eventually was able to make the call with an eagerness to speak with her. The conversation was full of good humor and mutual support.

In other cases, of course, resolving relationship problems may take many patient months and years. But no matter how hard the struggle, we can turn in prayer to the spiritual resources that help us persist. When we feel alienated from our neighbors, friends, family, or co-workers, what we really need to do is quietly, thoughtfully reexamine our own relationship to God.

We may feel others have taken something away from us or are depriving us of something we need or want. But, in fact, everything we've ever had that's good--and every good thing we've ever needed--has its source in God. …

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