MOST of us like to think that we are honest and that others are telling us the truth. Human experience being what it is, though, we can be disappointed, especially when we are faced with dishonesty from a relative, friend, or colleague. Often these situations can be corrected simply by talking to the individual. Other times this may not be possible. If we pray before we act, however, we will be likely to achieve better results. When we turn to God in prayer, we are seeking to gain a better understanding of man's true, spiritual nature. Because God is Truth, we are in fact children of Truth. Understanding this will show us the best way to correct deceit and will help us act with both intelligence and compassion.
Christ Jesus didn't mince words when he spoke of evil as ``a liar, and the father of it.''1 He was fearless before the lies of his enemies because he knew that God's power was always present. But he didn't condone wrongdoing, saying confidently, ``There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.''2
This statement is a promise that God's law and His power will help us uncover and correct dishonesty. We can count on it when we feel that dishonesty of any sort is trying to influence us or others. Even if the human conditions do not appear to change quickly, our understanding of God as Truth can protect us from the dishonesty of others.
For example, during an examination in connection with my profession, one of the examiners lied by stating as a fact something that both of us -- but none of the other examiners -- knew to be wrong. I prayed fervently to see how to answer him. Somehow I was able to frame an answer that let him know that I knew he was lying and also satisfied the other examiners. But for a long time I could not get over my anger at him for lying to me and for the way he got away with such behavior.
Finally I realized that I was the only person my anger was hurting. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, tells us how to break out of such frustration: ``Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, -- to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty.''3
I was startled by how many of those negative propensities I had been exhibiting! The statement made clear that the place for me to start in overcoming them was to be more Christlike myself. This meant that I needed to express spiritual qualities instead of reacting to the man's dishonesty with a desire for revenge.
To do less than this would be to deny the ever-presence of God, Truth. It wasn't easy, but I finally realized that whatever the man who had lied to me did, I certainly didn't want to deny the presence of Truth in any part of my life or his. As I prayed, I really tried to love with the love I had for Truth, and gradually I was able to do this. Not long afterward, a resolution to this problem was possible that benefited everyone involved.
Perhaps this will seem like a small example, but if we are going to conquer deceit, we need to start with the grass-roots challenges where we can have an impact. As we grow in our understanding of God and our devotion to Truth, we will be preparing ourselves for bigger challenges and for helping our world overcome them.
1John 8:44. 2Luke 12:2. 3Science and Health, p. 405.