Tapping honesty's spiritual power

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Reports Have arisen of unethical, and possibly illegal, behavior by employees of the US Department of the Interior to the tune of millions of dollars. Several congressmen are under federal probes. It's hard to see people whose work involves upholding the law being accused of breaking it. Much remains to be proved, but even while the cases are going forward, our prayers can help support a positive outcome for all concerned.

In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help" (p. 453). Mrs. Eddy had seen plenty of dishonesty in her life – including the twisted, unethical reporting that led her to establish the Monitor with the goal "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind."

But she was also a great believer in redemption. Elsewhere in Science and Health she wrote, "If you believe in and practise wrong knowingly, you can at once change your course and do right" (p. 253). This statement can give hope to anyone involved in wrongdoing, because the willingness to admit the mistake, make amends, and move on, can do much to ease one's passage through such times.

In fact, it can be easier than one would think to change course, because the spiritual reality is that each of us is the son or daughter of God. In practical terms, this means that we are naturally disposed toward goodness, honesty, love, and truth. This is how we are made. So if for some reason our priorities have been skewed, our decision to turn toward good is actually a choice to turn toward our natural inclinations, toward who we really are. Realizing this as a spiritual fact and living in harmony with it help lift any mental darkness we may be feeling. Doing so leads us to better companions and higher goals.

Those who are concerned about these or other ethical lapses can support honesty in government, business, and in their own lives by understanding the protecting power of integrity. As the book of Proverbs in the Bible puts it, "The integrity of the upright shall guide them" (11:3).

A university employee was able to see the guiding power of honesty when a bidder on a $100,000 project she was responsible for offered her a bribe, as a small incentive toward overlooking some irregularities in the bid. Unlike other competitors, these individuals had bid on materials other than those specified, so their bid was lower.

The employee knew it was unlikely that others would notice the difference, and she was confident that the company could do the job. But she also recalled this statement from the book of Psalms: "Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide" (26:1).

Even if no one knew, she would, and she didn't want to betray the trust her employer had put in her. So she gave the work to one of the other bidders. But hoping to help the other company, she took the time to tell them why they weren't chosen.

Although she never knew what happened in that company's future, she felt she'd contributed in some small way to promoting more integrity in the community. Whenever this situation came to mind, she would affirm the inherent goodness and integrity of the people she'd dealt with, trusting that the stand she took would somehow bless everyone involved. The example Jesus set held a promise for her. He found the purity that is everyone's essential nature as the sons and daughters of God, who is Truth itself. And his understanding of divine Truth was so clear that he was able to transform people's lives.

Even if we have only a tiny glimpse of God's love for all His children, our prayers can help make a difference and can benefit government, business, and individuals. The spiritual power of honesty can be a blessing for all of us.

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