Honesty and Christian healing

Honesty is imperative in every avenue of human life, and each person is responsible for keeping herself or himself honest (something anyone can do with God’s help). But here’s the rub: Prideful elements in the human mind can distract a person from tending to one’s own honesty and, instead, cause one to be critical of others, or claim for oneself things that are not true. Sadly, from time to time we see the unfortunate results of this kind of dishonesty highlighted in news reports regarding prominent public figures. But it is our own honesty we must attend to, so we need to be watchful that we don’t shift our attention—even for a moment—in the dishonest direction of personal pride or hypocritical criticism.

If you have just now thought with a little embarrassment, “Oh, my, I think I may have a tendency to do that”—and have had a little laugh at yourself—you’re not alone, and you are already on the right track.

Dishonesty stands in the way of success; and this is especially true in the practice of Christian healing. So, how can we extract pride and criticism from our own thought so we don’t think, speak, or act dishonestly or hypocritically? Well, we can’t do it by allowing our judgments to rest on a superficial view of ourselves or others as fallible (or supposedly infallible) human personalities. We can do it, however, by humbly adopting the spiritual practice of being true to God and man in the way Christ Jesus lived and taught—and being honest with ourselves as to whether we are actually doing this or simply giving mental lip service to it.

Jesus set the standard of honesty for a Christian healer on the rock-solid basis of spiritual truth. As Mary Baker Eddy said of him, “He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 313 ). And he was consistently honest in plumbing the depths of spiritual truth instead of resting on the evidence of the material senses—that is why he could successfully fulfill his healing and saving mission.

In all things and at all times Jesus stayed true to God, to humanity, and to himself by worshipping God as the only cause and creator of man and the universe. He acknowledged God, Spirit, as the one and only Ego, and man as the perfect reflection of that one Ego. Looking beneath the surface appearance of a human personality, he not only saw but also genuinely loved the pure and perfect spiritual reflection of the one perfect Ego. Thus, Jesus kept his thoughts, words, and deeds humbly true to perfect God and perfect man at all times. 

This standard of honesty reflected the power of divine Love and resulted in Jesus’ mighty healing and reformative works. Knowing that this standard was available to everyone who would refrain from egotistically thinking they could demonstrate spiritual power on their own without God, thus positioning themselves as abler than others, Jesus instructed his followers then and now, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 ). 

Keeping his own thought true to God—seeing Spirit as the only real cause and cherishing each individual as the spiritual and perfect reflection of God—was the standard of honesty Jesus enjoined every Christian to adopt. Any thought or deed that deviated from this standard was sin—an offense against God—which, for the sake of healing and reforming mortals, Jesus always condemned by separating the sin from his view of the person and consigning it to its native nothingness. 

Jesus set the standard of honesty for a Christian healer on the rock-solid basis of spiritual truth. 

If we are to be effective Christian healers, we must hold ourselves to Jesus’ standard by humbly yielding to God each step of the way. Trusting God in this way, we’ll be able to squelch any tendency we may have to judge any person on “the material surface of things,” and we’ll instead embrace each one mentally in his or her actual identity as God’s sinless reflection. (It’s easy to slip into old habits, so be alert. I know!) We must denounce sin in all its forms, but cherish man—in order to save one another from sin and disease, and ultimately from death. As startling as it may seem, anything less than loving man in this way is sin, a definite hindrance to success in healing.

We cannot know or be true to God or man through the material senses—because God, who is Spirit, and man, His spiritual reflection, can only be known and loved through spiritual sense, which we all have. Mrs. Eddy knew this well. She says: “Christian Science rises above the evidence of the corporeal senses; but if you have not risen above sin yourself, do not congratulate yourself upon your blindness to evil or upon the good you know and do not. A dishonest position is far from Christianly scientific” (Science and Health, p. 448 ). And this: “Lust, dishonesty, sin, disable the student; …” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 4 ).

Honesty in Christian healing consists of prayerfully relying on God to help us keep our own thought true to Him and true to ourselves and others by reflecting the perfect love of God for each and every person. As Jesus said, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12 ). A simple thing, really, but it takes humility to place oneself in subordination to the will of unconditional Love, the divine Ego. Humility is the antidote for being coerced by pride to make untrue claims concerning oneself. And humility brings the love and mercy of God into our experience, with so much satisfaction and healing along the way.

Daily devotion, persistent effort, and watchfulness put the brakes on any tendency to be critical of others, and instead enable us to hold ourselves to honestly loving others as God’s reflection—separating sin from our view of them, and denouncing it for the purpose of healing. This kind of honesty demonstrates the healing power of divine Truth and Love. And this makes the effort truly enjoyable.

Spiritual honesty glorifies God, not self.

Barbara Vining

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June 1, 2015

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