An honest heart
Christ Jesus shared a parable about why seeds planted by a farmer don’t always take root and grow (see Luke 8:5–15). The story metaphorically illustrates modes of thought that stand in the way of healing and those that support and promote it. One requirement for healing that Jesus identified in the parable was an honest heart, which he defined as more than just telling the truth. He said those who are honest and good-hearted “listen to God’s words and cling to them and steadily spread them to others who also soon believe” (Luke 8:15, The Living Bible).
We all yearn to live up to the standard that Jesus exemplified and taught, and this parable provides valuable insight: Any seeker of Truth who possesses the spiritual quality of an honest heart naturally listens for divine guidance and follows it, applying it tenaciously to every aspect of daily life. And the reward for this tenacity is healing.
One definition of honest is “free from . . . deception” (merriam-webster.com). Self-deception is especially thorny because it affects every aspect of our experience. Self-deception argues that life is merely material. It sees selfhood as determined and limited by the corporeal senses, by physical attributes or strands of DNA, when in fact, God’s offspring (all of us) are made in the likeness of God, Spirit—made to express the freedom of Spirit, the perfect beauty of divine Soul, the limitless nature of divine Life. As we come to see that our true selfhood is not mortal but immortal, not material but spiritual—that our true nature as God’s spiritual reflection is inseparable from infinite Love and divine Mind and Life—we naturally enthrone God as our sole truth-giver, as the only seat of our real identity.
Christianly scientific practice keeps us safe from duplicity and hypocrisy and leads to individual and collective happiness.
This honesty of right identification enables us to navigate difficult situations with spiritual poise and find freedom from physical limitations. Honesty allows us to see and appreciate others in their true light. As Mary Baker Eddy put it: “Doing unto others as we would that they do by us, is immortality’s self. Intrepid, self-oblivious love fulfils the law and is self-sustaining and eternal” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 275).
Intrepid, self-oblivious love. What a concept! Webster defines intrepid as resolutely fearless. And self-oblivious implies a state of thought that has so yielded to an understanding of spiritual being and divine reflection that it cannot be tempted with a selfish, matter-based sense of life. According to the statement above, “intrepid, self-oblivious love” is key for sustaining our lives harmoniously and realizing the goodness and immortality of each individual as God’s unique, spiritual creation.
An honest heart cannot say one thing and do another. Christianly scientific practice keeps us safe from duplicity and hypocrisy and leads to individual and collective happiness. On a busy road near my home, a large sign reads, “Love thy neighbor: NO EXCEPTIONS.” It’s a wonderful message. It frequently has been a happy reminder and occasionally a helpful rebuke. Am I remembering, for example, to rise above the opinions and decisions of every private and public citizen in order to see and love God’s child? Am I remembering Christ Jesus’ admonition (see Matthew 5:22) that it is a sin even to be angry at another? An honest heart remembers.
Christ Jesus was the Way-shower. Mrs. Eddy wrote of him: “[The] spiritual idea, or Christ, entered into the minutiæ of the life of the personal Jesus. It made him an honest man, a good carpenter, and a good man, before it could make him the glorified” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 166).
Jesus’ example illustrates how we can progress in our own healing practice. Every day offers opportunities to grow in grace and goodness.
Fidelity to God’s Word cannot be accomplished through mere human effort but must be the result of the spiritual idea, or Christ, entering into the minutiae of one’s life. The same Christ, the same divine light of Love, that motivated Jesus centuries ago and held his thought in line with Truth and Life is present today in human consciousness, compelling thought Godward, Spiritward. The Christ is available to and present with each of us equally. An honest heart recognizes this and is motivated by Christ in loving unconditionally and universally because it knows there is no other way truly to love. An honest heart practices intrepid, self-oblivious love.
Christian Science helps us realize that honesty is our natural state. The child of God’s creating—each one of us, made in God’s image—cannot in truth know anything outside of divine Principle, Love, and Life. Identifying ourselves this way prepares the “good ground” (Luke 8:15) in consciousness wherein the seed of Truth takes root, springs up, and bears much fruit.
Mary Alice Rose, Member of the
Christian Science Board of Directors
The Living Bible, copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, IL. All rights reserved.