The world needs solid, moral people - people who are honest, kind, compassionate. And the world's great religions stress the importance of moral qualities. The human spirit knows, without being told, that goodness makes people satisfied and society harmonious, while greed, dishonesty, callousness, cause turmoil.
But there are many moral people who still have problems, perhaps of illness or lack. They may read Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount n1 and honestly try to live its spirit. Yet they can see in the same New Testament that Jesus brought health, not illness, to the people around him and solved the problem of lack, even for a multitude - and they may wonder what they are doing wrong in their lives.
n1 See Matthew, chaps. 5-7. Why, since they are basically good, should such people suffer? The answer isn't that they are doing something wrong; it is essential to live morally. But the answer does involve learning and living according to an even higher perception. We need to cultivate spirituality.
Spirituality goes beyond morality, beyond human goodness, beyond matter. It is our awareness of spiritual reality. It is the understanding that we gain of God and man from God Himself. It comes to us in the form of pure spiritual insights. Then we understand, or spiritually sense, the actual, permanent, and perfect spiritual reality in the very places where good or bad objects, people, and conditions appear materially. However dimly at first, we become aware that matter is not the reality we had thought it to be. We understand that God is perfect, universal good and that the true universe, including man, is His perfect idea. We also start becoming aware that all evil - all sickness, lack, fear - is an illusion, a false belief, despite the very impressive evidence to the contrary. God and His creation are the only reality, and they are totally good.
This holy dimension of awareness is anchored on morality as a skyscraper is anchored to deep and strong foundations and then soars above them. When John said, ''Repent ye,'' n2 he meant for his listeners - and us - to stop being selfish or bad-tempered, and to develop selflessness and kindness. But he also meant for us to set aside material beliefs and let ourselves be lifted to spiritual awareness. While good people the world over generally recognize the former demand, they are not always as conscious of the latter.
n2 Matthew 3:2.
A couple of years ago I mistakenly took hold of a hot exhaust pipe with my bare hand. The pain was intense. Many people would say that this was too bad, but accidents do happen, even to the best of us. People generally believe we just have to learn to live with the results or turn to material remedies. But this view doesn't heal.
The spiritual view, however, does heal. We can humbly and earnestly declare - until we realize this fact - that God, divine Principle, is entirely good, and that man is His precious likeness, never out of His care and control. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes: ''God never punishes man for doing right, for honest labor, or for deeds of kindness, though they expose him to fatigue, cold, heat, contagion. If man seems to incur the penalty through matter, this is but a belief of mortal mind, not an enactment of wisdom, and man has only to enter his protest against this belief in order to annul it.'' n3 She also writes, ''Under divine Providence there can be no accidents, since there is no room for imperfection in perfection.'' n4
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 384.
n4 Ibid., p. 424.
As I held to these truths and others like them for only a few minutes, the pain faded. There was soon no mark on my hand.
If mortal beliefs are darkness and human goodness is the dawn, then spiritual understanding is the full light. Good people need not turn away from goodness if they have problems. Instead, they can build on their God-given morality to gain the even higher God-given spirituality and be healed. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. Proverbs 3:13