As a Christian Scientist, I’m learning that understanding God is paramount to Christian demonstration. The beautiful thing is that God supplies the understanding — it’s not something you and I are under pressure for its attainment. Rather, we’re participating in God’s supply of it — by gratitude for what we’ve learned and by putting what little we do understand into practice.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot to learn. And I feel very much like I’m in the kindergarten level of understanding since I first went into the public practice of Christian Science 8 years ago. But each day I’m learning a little more about God as divine Mind, and all that divine Mind has to offer.
But why is understanding paramount? Because, for me, understanding is like understanding your best friend — you love them and enjoy being on the same wavelength and when you know your friend appreciates you, it feels even more important to reflect that appreciation back to them and vice versa.
And understanding is like appreciation — its more than just intellectual. It means to me that there’s a deepening of value, trust, and love. When you’re understood, you feel loved and trusted. And it feels wonderful being in sync with your friend when it comes to being of value.
So it is with God. Understanding God brings a deeper love and trust in God, and I can then trust that what divine Mind created remains eternally good, including all the people in God’s creation. So therefore, loving God and understanding God helps me see that loving and understanding my brother, or neighbor, is also equally important.
I remember when this first became apparent to me and understanding this healed me. I was in a snowboarding accident and hurt my wrist. For three days I was praying but seemed to not improve. Until I realized I was harboring some deep anger toward an elected official. I just couldn’t understand their decisions, nor could I appreciate this man’s very existence, let alone see him as a fellow child of God.
But when I uncovered this anger, I realized I required a change of thought. Loving this person wasn’t easy, but I started by being grateful for God. I also looked deeply at the Bible to understand what exactly God created and asked myself if God was capable of creating both evil and good people if God Himself is infinite good and creates only good. The answer was apparent. I needed to see God’s goodness in this individual. I needed to see the person as God created him — eternally good and innocent. I also needed to forgive this individual for actions that I thought made him evil.
After this change of thought, and by seeing this man as God created him, the physical healing came quickly and I was soon back to normal. But this could be explained only because my thought was healed and corrected.
This experience helped me see better that understanding God is not separate from the need to see everyone who comes into our experience — whether it’s a next door neighbor, a co-worker, a driver who cuts you off, or a politician — as God’s beloved child. The world needs our deep love and understanding of God, and our love for God’s creation, to help change it into the place we know it really is — heaven.
Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man’s spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God’s creation, — all the glories of earth and heaven and man.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.264