Sorting Things Out

IN complex events where facts need to be distinguished from half-truths or inventions, the Bible gives light and encouragement. Not only does the Bible make plain the difference between what's right and what's wrong; it reveals that God, divine Truth, is the source of all justice. Christ Jesus' ministry is the unmatched illustration of truth lived and proved.

One of Jesus' parables tells about a man whose wheat field was visited at night by an enemy who sowed tares (harmful weeds) among the wheat. As weed seedlings began to germinate along with the wheat, the field workers asked if they should rush in and start pulling out the tares. But the man knew this approach would never succeed. Ridding the field of tares was necessary, but if done too soon, some of the valuable wheat would be uprooted and lost. They should wait, he told the workers, until harvesttime-- until the plants had developed to the stage where there could no longer be any question about which plants were producing a valuable crop and which weren't.

The patient trust the man encouraged in his workers is a point to remember when we're looking for resolutions. Ripening of human thoughts and actions is always going on. Human consciousness seems a mixture of various thoughts and motives--some good and some bad. Separating the tares from the wheat in consciousness involves the patient, step-by-step recognition that God's goodness and truth, not errors, have supremacy in our lives. The thoughts that God, divine Mind, gives us aren't a confusing mix. They are man's real thoughts, man's true consciousness, and they reflect God's qualities, such as love, wisdom, justice, and order.

There are situations, however, in which it can seem difficult to discern exactly what is right and God-motivated and what isn't. Yet if we patiently continue to trust that divine Truth's unerring law is always in operation, we will finally see a separation between right and wrong in a way that eliminates what is useless while preserving what is legitimate and valuable.

One thing is clear in Christian Science: no error can manage successfully to escape the omnipotent law of Truth. Even when truth seems to be hidden by misconceptions or mistakes, this is temporary. Christ, Truth, is always speaking to human consciousness. We should never doubt this, or doubt anyone's God-created capacity to hear and follow Truth's demands, even when this looks problematic. When we bow only to Truth, we aren't afraid. We can't be tricked into telling or acting out a lie. And we're alert n ot to be taken in by a lie acted out by someone else.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, explains in her Miscellaneous Writings: "The student of Christian Science must first separate the tares from the wheat; discern between the thought, motive, and act superinduced by the wrong motive or the true--the God-given intent and volition-- arrest the former, and obey the latter. This will place him on the safe side of practice. We always know where to look for the real Scientist, and always find him there.

When it's hard to figure out what to believe or whom to believe, we can start by believing and trusting divine, unerring Truth. We can turn to what the inspired Word tells us of God's universe and His man. To the extent we prayerfully entrust everything we care about to the operation of Truth's self- revealing and self-enforcing law, we can be sure we're "on the safe side of practice--helping to bring in a full harvest of healing.

This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the January 13 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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