Tempted to Cheat?
'BUT we need the money! one partner exasperatedly said to the other.It was a small business venture--a service organization needed in the community and praised roundly by those it served. Though it had been standing on its own at first, subsequent changes made funding the project more difficult. Then, one partner discovered a funding source to tap that would require only a slight "fudging" of the rules. Though tempted at first to agree to this proposal, the other partner held firm, knowing that honesty had to be the basis of their service. In the end the rules were not circumvented. Yet, over the next few years, the venture flourished and was amply financed. One of the Ten Commandments, found in Exodus, is "Thou shalt not steal. It might seem that "Thou shalt not steal applies less to groups than to individuals. But isn't it an individual in any group or business who must initiate action on the part of the organization, including action that is deceptive or dishonest? Viewed spiritually, man's integrity and well-being can't be divided up, allowing for integrity in one area and dishonesty in another. This is so because man is wholly created by God; thus every aspect of his true being must reflect his creator's goodness and nature. Man's being is filled with the integrity characterizing his creator. Some might think that complete integrity in all things is an impossible ideal. It might well take years to achieve such a goal, but we have the experience of Christ Jesus to help us as we strive toward it. Such spiritual living isn't easy, but it is possible as we learn to respond to the spiritual fact that Jesus showed to be true--every person's real Father is God, Truth itself, the unfailing source of all good. Thinking of God as Truth gives us a basis for understanding the spiritual rationale for Jesus' command "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Divine Truth creates and loves each individual in His creation. This is why values such as honesty, faithfulness, truth-telling, and the like are natural to everyone. Forsaking honesty can really hurt. At one point in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science , states, "Evasion of Truth cripples integrity, and casts thee down from the pinnacle. I sometimes think of this "pinnacle as my own clarity of thought and ability to act as the free child of God. Even a tiny undercurrent of dishonesty can impair our ability to carry through with what we are doing, whether it is rearing our children and keeping a home or running a corporation or government. It might seem that getting around the rules isn't really stealing as the Ten Commandments speak of it. Yet, in the case above, the funding had been set aside for individuals with a specific need that wasn't being met. Had my friend dishonestly accessed those funds, he would have siphoned off the money without addressing the unmet need. Wouldn't this have been stealing from the individuals whose needs the funds were intended to address? By placing God's Word foremost in our lives, however, we can honestly achieve the good that is needed. It may not be simple. It may well require some unsnarling of motives and lots of hard work. But we will remain high on that golden pinnacle of integrity where God has placed man.
You can find more articles about spiritual healing in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.