I remember the exact day I realized it. That just because something is written in a book doesn't automatically mean it's true.
Up until then, as I studied books for homework, looked up information in reference books for papers, and did research in libraries, I thought that if a book said it, it had to be a fact. Somebody had to check these things out, right? Some committee somewhere had to have approved these books for classes, right? And I don't recall anyone telling me anything different.
Then one day, I started a new social studies class. As the teacher read things out of the textbook about why we behave the way we do, I started to feel really uncomfortable. What I heard just didn't sound right. It didn't feel right. Why? Because the Bible had already taught me to see really important, true things about me and my friends that the new textbook ignored.
That night, when I had to study a few chapters in that book for homework, I had the same feeling. I just knew the information in the book was wrong! I knew it. Because of my own life - because of facts I'd seen and proved about how God has made us and governs us.
Ever since that day, I've realized that it's important not to just take what books - or even people - say at face value. We have the right to find out for ourselves what's true. Prove it in our own lives.
A lot of people argue about whether the Bible is true. Some people say it's just a collection of stories people made up. Others point out that it has so many contradictions that it can't all be true.
But another book had helped me understand the overall message of the Bible. To see that it does make sense when you read it in the right way. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, also explains how you can prove the ideas in the Bible to be true in your own life. And make your life (and the lives of others) better!
For example, the book of Isaiah in the Bible says, "Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn" (51:1). Huh? Are we cut out of a rock? Why should we look to that?
But Science and Health explains: "Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts" (Pg. 261). Many people have followed that instruction and proved it practical. I've applied it many times myself.
For example, when I was growing up, I had a big dark birthmark on my leg. Sometimes kids said things about it, or asked questions about it - which was embarrassing. Looking at it and thinking of myself as made up of physical parts, some of them ugly or abnormal, didn't help at all.
But as I learned how to relate the truth of the Bible to this situation, I stopped looking at the birthmark to find out what was true about me. Instead I looked "unto the rock whence" we are all "hewn." That is, I looked "away from the body into Truth and Love," which are synonyms for God.
Another name for God is Spirit. Science and Health really explains the Bible's message that everyone truly is made like God, spiritual and perfect. I saw that none of us, the children of God - created by the perfect, loving, all-powerful Spirit that made everything and made it good - can have ugly parts or bad spots.
And you know what? At some point I realized that the birthmark was gone.
Don't just believe everything you see or hear or read. Make sure it's good, that is, from God. Keep looking to Truth and you'll prove that only good is true!
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether
they are of God: because
many false prophets are
gone out into the world....
Ye are of God, little children,
and have overcome them:
because greater is he
that is in you, than he that
is in the world.
I John 4:1, 4