It was the first day of the impeachment proceedings in the United States Senate, and my social media feeds were full of cynicism from both sides about the trial and its potential outcome. Regardless of their political affiliation, people seemed to be in agreement about only one thing: There was no way the truth would ever come out.
Truth often feels like something very personal—our experience of particular events in contrast to someone else’s. And when it’s defined that way, it’s easy to fall into the grim mindset that the “real truth” won’t ever surface.
That’s why I’ve appreciated a perspective on truth that elevates it above our limited human opinions about what’s true or false. The perspective I’m talking about is based in the Bible and attributes the quality of truth to God. “He is the Rock,” the Bible says, “his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, echoed this statement when she wrote, “God is what the Scriptures declare Him to be,—Life, Truth, Love” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 330).
What I really needed was willingness: a willingness to embrace whatever Truth had the capacity to reveal, even if it meant bringing my own biases to light to deal with.
If God is Truth, then God also includes attributes of Truth, such as honesty, impartiality, and justice. Truth’s perfect work isn’t one human set of facts or another. It’s the spiritual fact that God expresses throughout all creation all the qualities that reflect Truth. Nothing is beyond the reach of divine Truth, because it is limitless and spiritual, not confined to particular places or people.
These might sound like intriguing ideas, but also seem pretty far removed from situations that we really care about. But Christian Science actually makes these ideas practical. Prayer that seeks to understand God as Truth—the supreme, impartial power governing all of us—can bring the presence of divine Truth to light, even in situations where it previously seemed obscured.
There’s more to this prayer than merely thinking about God as Truth, or even knowing the ever-presence of Truth. In my own life, I’ve learned that the most effective prayer comes from a humble place of truly wanting to see the action of Truth made manifest, expressed in justice, mercy, fairness—regardless of whether the outcome coincides with our own opinions or agenda.
At a turning point in my career, I found myself praying this way about a creative partnership I was heavily invested in. I’d had concerns about aspects of the partnership, but they were all based on vague feelings—feelings that ran counter to what I wanted. Though I’d prayed about it off and on, my prayers were more along the lines of asking God to show me that my perspective on the situation was correct.
When we move past the desire for “our side” to win, we can feel a peace that’s independent of getting what we think we want, and see the truth come to light more readily.
The linchpin moment came when I realized that what I really needed was willingness: a willingness to embrace whatever Truth had the capacity to reveal, even if it meant bringing my own biases to light to deal with. A willingness to feel deeply that Truth, God, is also Love, so while what Truth exposed might be difficult to take, it would be companioned by the loving reassurance that there was still a way forward—not just for me, but for everyone involved.
As I prayed that morning, this willingness in me grew until a feeling of peace came over me and I was able to let go of a predetermined outcome.
The very next day, I had a spiritual intuition about an aspect of the partnership that I hadn’t considered before. I knew it was inspired by Truth because it wasn’t a detail I could have otherwise known, and it came with a feeling of certainty. Shortly after that, concrete information came to light that showed me I needed to bring the partnership to a close. And while that was a difficult realization, I felt the strength of Truth behind me, and the tenderness of Love supporting me, as I moved in that direction.
Can we pray this way about what’s going on in government, whether in the US or elsewhere? Yes. Cultivating a willingness to release our strongly held opinions about any situation, big or small, is like an open invitation for Truth’s effects to be known and experienced. It’s not always a comfortable thing to do, but when we move past the desire for “our side” to win, we can feel a peace that’s independent of getting what we think we want, and see the truth come to light more readily.
Originally published in The Christian Science Monitor’s Christian Science Perspective column, January 30, 2020.