What Does It Mean To Know the Truth?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Christ Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). That's a wonderful promise that can be taken seriously, especially when you feel the need for some sort of healing - whether the difficulty is injury, illness, financial hardship, a troubled relationship, or anything else. But just what does it mean to know the truth?

For something to be known, it really has to be true. You can't know - correctly - that the earth is flat or that the sun revolves around the earth, although for centuries people thought they knew those fallacies to be accurate. They didn't know; they believed.

The Bible has much to say about truth and directly relates it to God. In fact, the definition of truth in "Harper's Bible Dictionary" includes the statement that "God is truth." And this is how He is understood in Christian Science, the Science by which Jesus healed. "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," written by Mary Baker Eddy, frequently uses Truth (along with Life, Love, Principle, Soul, Mind, and Spirit) as synonyms for God. Knowing the truth, then, is knowing God in some degree. Daily study and prayer to understand Him better are the best means to this end. He is and knows only good. The Bible says that God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil" (Habakkuk 1:13). And you can find specific truths God knows about His creation, which will abolish any evil belief that is troubling you - as well as the physical effect of that belief.

Things that are true can be proved. How do you prove your (true) freedom from whatever (false) belief is bothering you? Here's an example. Shortly after I graduated from college, I began having migraine headaches. At first I would go right to bed when an attack came, and "know the truth" until I could get to sleep. I can't remember exactly how I prayed. I'm sure it involved claiming my exemption from pain. Pain was not something God could know or experience. It was not something I, as His likeness (see Genesis 1:26), could know or experience either. I knew that "man is not material; he is spiritual" (Science and Health, Pg. 468), and therefore that matter (flesh and disease) could make no conditions for me.

The third time I had a migraine I was again tempted to go to bed because I felt so miserable. But I decided to stay up and do some reading in Science and Health to help me realize the truth more clearly. I would no more have tried to read anything else than I would have tried to fly, but I knew that the truth from the Bible, as explained in that book, could heal me. At first it was very difficult for me to concentrate. But I soon became so engrossed in what I was reading about God's perfect creation and His uninterrupted care for all His children, including me, that these truths permeated my thinking. When I finally put the book down, I was free. I was healed. And in the 40 or so years since, I have never had another headache of any kind.

The spiritual truth one knows concerning any problem begins with the fact that evil can't be factual, because God doesn't know it. In a relationship difficulty, for instance, it would be important to know that everyone is a child of God, reflecting His nature, and that any disturbing behavior is no part of an individual's identity as God's child.

Your point of departure for spiritual healing may pretty much be the same - denial of evil (on the basis of its unreality in truth) and firm declarations of your oneness with God, who is good alone. But the specific spiritual facts to be known vary with each situation. We need to know that when we are earnest and steadfast in our search for the truth God will reveal it to us, and that this determines our daily experience for the better.

Anyone can pray, can know the truth. And this brings freedom. In addition, every issue of The Christian Science Journal includes a worldwide directory of Christian Science practitioners, whose sole occupation is healing through prayer.

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