Being right, or in the right, may seem to us at times to be the greatest virtue. However, this conviction can be attended by the expression of human opinions, pride, bigotry, intolerance, and even hatred toward those we consider to be wrong. The end result is not really the expression of righteousness, but a perversion of it.
The Bible states: “If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:14–17).
This passage identifies true wisdom as being “from above.” The source of true wisdom and righteousness, then, is God, and whatever originates in God is without fault, is truly right, and is incorruptible. The one perfect God is the only creator, and His perfect creation is the only creation there really is. This creation is entirely spiritual and is wholly good, as described in the first book of the Bible: “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Whatever originates in God is without fault, is truly right.
This good, perfect creation includes each one of us, in our true spiritual identity. Christian Science draws a clear line of distinction between the perfect, true spiritual identity that we all have and the sinning, material, mortal personality that we seem to be. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The real man is spiritual and immortal, but the mortal and imperfect so-called ‘children of men’ are counterfeits from the beginning, to be laid aside for the pure reality. This mortal is put off, and the new man or real man is put on, in proportion as mortals realize the Science of man and seek the true model” (p. 409).
As we grow in the understanding of our true spiritual identity, we begin to obtain and express the real righteousness that belongs to us as God’s children and that is “from above.”
So, how do we know if we’re on the right track? How do we know when we’re really abiding in spiritual truth? The answer is simple. It’s when we’re abiding in love for God, and for man as divine Love’s reflection.
In Christian Science, Truth and Love, when capitalized, are synonyms for God. They both refer to the one Supreme Being. This means that Truth and Love are one. They cannot exist apart from each other. There cannot be Love without Truth, or Truth without Love.
So even if we think we are 100 percent right, that we know all the facts and have the correct judgment about a given situation, if we are without love, then we are also in some measure without truth, and so we would be in some way without real rightness.
This fact is beautifully expressed by the Apostle Paul in the Bible: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (I Corinthians 13:1, 2, New King James Version).
When our thoughts and actions are in line with Love’s, God’s, will, they can’t help but bless ourselves and others—and being a blessing is always right. On the other hand, human opinions and willfulness may lead us far away from love and therefore from truth. One way to know whether we’re following Love’s directing is to see if we’re thinking and acting in obedience to Christ Jesus’ teaching to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (see Matthew 22:34–40).
It is useful to take note of the definition of zeal given in the Glossary in Science and Health. It shows that there is a right kind of zeal and a wrong kind. The definition reads: “The reflected animation of Life, Truth, and Love. Blind enthusiasm; mortal will” (p. 599).
If we are ever unsure of what might be the right thing to do, we can always pray to know that God, Love, expresses in us not only the wisdom to be discerning but also the love that guides us into the most loving thing to do. When our thoughts abide in divine Love, Truth, we can’t go wrong.
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