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Corruption-free

From the October 28, 2013 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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A recent survey by the anti-corruption watchdog group Transparency International showed there is rising resentment worldwide against corruption. Two out of three people in the survey said ordinary people can make a difference in curbing corruption; in fact, they emphasized that “people power” is more effective than government and organizational initiatives in fighting corruption.

In light of what Christian Science teaches about our innate purity as the children of God, it’s significant that resistance to corruption is developing on an individual, rather than an institutional basis. Why? Because individual effort is both the necessity and assurance of spiritual progress and victory. Integrity and purity prevail as we give our individual consent and commitment to them.

Being pure, living a life of integrity, is far more than just being a good, benevolent, and respectful human being. True integrity is spiritual wholeness. To be whole individually—to live completely free of corruption—we need to understand the deep, God-derived basis of integrity. Exercising our God-given dominion over sin gives us both the wisdom and courage to act rightly. Our individual commitment to honesty is a guiding light; our spiritual commitment to purity is a saving light. 

The light of this spiritual salvation immeasurably brightens both our mental and physical health. It illuminates the path to wise choices and intelligent action. It helps us be honest, resilient, and fearless. It also supports the idea that health really is the consistent harmony of mind and body, responding to the flawless influence of Spirit, God. 

Each of us inherently possesses the spiritual, moral bedrock on which society builds its best aspirations and ideals. But that solid morality doesn’t originate in human effort or personal resolve. It is, in fact, a quality that God, divine Principle, fully and freely gives to each of us—as the men and women of His creating.

Christ Jesus was an advocate for man’s God-given rights—especially our inherent right to understand and demonstrate that we are God’s sons and daughters. As he preached the gospel, healed the sick, and restored those who felt alienated from God, he literally redeemed them from the belief that they were morally and spiritually deficient. 

In healing a man who had been born blind (see John 9:1–39), he completely overturned the prevailing thought that the man’s condition must have been the result of sin. Jesus instead maintained that this was an opportunity to glorify God. He challenged and defeated the corrupting view that congenital blindness was incurable—and instantly healed
the man. 

Yet the temple officials and the man’s neighbors asked the man repeatedly and skeptically how his sight had been restored. He told them without hesitation: “He [Jesus] put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.” Even when the Pharisees mocked his healing as being unlawful (because Jesus had performed it on the Sabbath day) the man stood his ground with courage and clarity. He didn’t flinch, and he didn’t bend to the attempt to coerce him into changing his account of the healing.

Ultimately the man was thrown out of the synagogue. But he’d been healed and he knew it. He was now seeing so much more than the eyes of the Pharisees were willing to take in. He was seeing the spiritual wholeness and integrity of his pure relationship to God.

God alone is man’s true light and Life.

As one of Christ Jesus’ modern-day disciples, Mary Baker Eddy, deepened and perpetuated Christ’s advocacy for man’s moral rights and purity. She proved in this age that God, our Father-Mother, is Love itself—Love that is the infinite source of goodness and blessing to each of us. Her discovery, Christian Science, brings the assurance that as the men and women of God’s creating we are naturally drawn to Jesus’ example and able to follow it without reservation. 

A letter in Mary Baker Eddy’s book, Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 states that a person of integrity “is not guided merely by affections which may some time give the color of virtue to a loose and unstable character. 

“The upright man is guided by a fixed Principle, which destines him to do nothing but what is honorable, and to abhor whatever is base or unworthy; hence we find him ever the same,—at all times the trusty friend, the affectionate relative, the conscientious man of business, the pious worker, the public-spirited citizen” (p. 147). 

To me, this is the key: being guided by divine Principle, God, at all times. Maintaining a consistent, individual commitment to the spiritual purity of Principle (a synonym for God that Mrs. Eddy often pairs with divine Love) removes the sense of helplessness or apathy that sometimes looms because of the seemingly intractable problem of corruption in today’s world. 

Our family witnessed this firsthand when our daughter’s car was stolen several years ago. When she called us, she said the police had told her not to get her hopes up about recovering the car since auto theft was just an inherent “fact of life” where she was living in Los Angeles.

Wholeness and incorruptibility are not only achievable; they are, in fact, inevitable.

This was our signal to find a higher road—an uncorrupted and God-centered viewpoint—and let prayer break through the cynical assumption that crime was something to be tolerated, even justified, in my daughter’s area. 

That higher road led to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, especially this passage: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:20, 21).

We focused our prayers on the fact that in the kingdom of heaven, only incorruptibility exists and thrives. The inherent “fact of life” in this realm is man’s unstained and permanently upright identity as the idea of God. If we treasured this, then we needed to exchange the degrading picture of crime, fraud, and danger for the highest level of goodness, honesty, and purity—both for our daughter and for the person who’d taken her car.

No matter how persuasive the pictures of evil appear to be, ultimately they cannot destroy the integrity, wholeness, and virtue of the living Principle of good, God Himself. Why not? Because these pictures really have no genuine source. They are lies about the Creator and everything He has made. No matter how imposing they look on the surface, they are, in fact, illusions. As we prayed, we treasured the absolute truth that all involved were conscious of their God-given freedom, their purity and integrity. 

Within 12 hours, our daughter received an anonymous call from someone living in the area, telling her that the car was less than a mile away, parked safely at a curb. When the police went to pick it up, they found—to their amazement—that it was completely undamaged and that nothing was missing inside or out. 

In this experience, our individual commitment to purity became, and continues to be, a true, saving light. It has shown me the healing that each of us can bring to the world by refusing to admit that corrupt behavior on any scale, small or large, is an accepted way of life or that it can hold people and nations in a stranglehold of dishonesty, greed, and degradation.

Wholeness and incorruptibility are not only achievable; they are, in fact, inevitable. And that’s something we can realize today. God alone is man’s true light and Life. Corrupt thinking and action disappear in that light. 

This lifts our view to what Mary Baker Eddy describes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as periods of spiritual ascension, “… the days and seasons of Mind’s creation, in which beauty, sublimity, purity, and holiness—yea, the divine nature—appear in man and the universe never to disappear” (p. 509).

Our active, consistent effort to embrace God’s law of divine Love and goodness as supreme helps to point the world to a deeper collective awareness and appreciation of everyone’s innate purity as God’s loved and incorruptible reflection.

Kevin Graunke is a practitioner and teacher of Christian Science who lives in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

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