Dishonesty in a business dealing may seem intransigent from a surface view of things. But must that view have the last word on the subject? Not when we take a deep look at Christ Jesus' healing works. A host of sins and other ailments, all apparently irreversible, yielded to the healing power of the Christ, the divine manifestation of God's love, expressed by Jesus. How did Jesus do it? These words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, provide a thought-provoking answer: ``Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.''1
Jesus healed the sick and also transformed sinners through his understanding of man as God's spiritual image. Luke's Gospel vividly describes a scene in which a woman ``which was a sinner''2 won redemption through surrender to the healing Christ.
It is fitting, then, that we take a deeper, spiritual look when faced with dishonesty. Integrity is a God-bestowed quality inherent in God's man, which is who we really are. So when we are confronted with dishonesty in another, we might well bear witness to our own spiritual identity by striving to discern something of that individual's true, sinless selfhood as God's likeness.
God knows His own absolute perfection and the perfection of His offspring, man. He didn't create dishonesty. What God created and what He knows of man has to be the truth. And when we glimpse that truth through prayer -- come to realize that it is truth -- dishonesty gives way through healing to honesty. We have to begin seeing things spiritually. ``The divine must overcome the human at every point,''3 Mrs. Eddy says.
Prayer in Christian Science involves a realization and affirmation of the truth of man. It enables us to discern the spiritual selfhood of another as the child of God, reflecting the divine qualities of love, integrity, goodness, purity.
I had an occasion to prove this. I had signed a contract for the purchase of a commodity. Later, on advice of my banker, I showed the contract to a lawyer, who pointed out that a page in the contract that should have set out the agreed specifications had been omitted. On his advice, I went back to the seller and asked for a release from the agreement. He refused and threatened to file a suit. There were several meetings between my lawyer and the seller.
My work was done behind the scenes -- in prayer. I persisted in declaring man's identity to be spiritual, the likeness of God, and in recognizing that God's offspring could express only love and righteousness. I realized the truth stated in the New Testament, ``Now are we the sons of God.''4 The outcome was that twice the seller agreed to alterations in the contract -- first, to the inclusion of the correct specifications, and second, to the insertion of a clause stating he would be paid after satisfying my banker that the specifications had been complied with.
As we reflect God's love for man, who is made in the image of God, we'll experience more of the kingdom of heaven, of harmony, right where we are. And we'll be supporting the divine influence that forwards peace on earth and good will for all.
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476-477. 2See Luke 7:37-50. 3Science and Health, p. 43. 4I John 3:2.