No witnesses. No proof. Nothing but the testimonies of the accuser and the accused. Nothing but the hint of wrongdoing - and no hard evidence to corroborate the plaintiff's complaint.
How could the truth possibly come to light? The situation looked grim for King Solomon, who was approached by two women to solve a dispute over a child. Both women had given birth to a baby boy in the same house, but one of the children had died. The Bible relates the plaintiff's accusation:
And this woman's child died in the night; because she overlaid it. And she arose at midnight, and took my son from beside me, while thine handmaid slept, and laid it in her bosom, and laid her dead child in my bosom. And when I rose in the morning to give my child suck, behold, it was dead: but when I had considered it in the morning, behold, it was not my son, which I did bear. And the other woman said, Nay; but the living is my son, and the dead is thy son. And this said, No; but the dead is thy son, and the living is my son (I Kings 3:19-22).
Seems that all Solomon had was one woman's word against the other's. Both had reason to lie. A lesser king might have thrown up his hands in defeat. But not Solomon. He knew that even when human understanding proved to be inadequate, the infinite understanding of God, the divine Mind, was an unfailing guide, impelling him to make nothing less than a just judgment.
What did Solomon do? He called for a sword and acted as though the solution was to divide the child between the two women. The defendant - to whom the child did not belong - encouraged him to carry through. But the plaintiff, the mother of the child, responded with a mother's love: "O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it," she said (I Kings 3:26).
The women's disparate responses gave Solomon the insight he needed to make a fair decision and to deliver the child into the hands of his mother. The conflict was resolved without a fight, the evil exposed and destroyed by Solomon's understanding of Truth.
The inspectors' task
As events play out on the world stage with weapons inspectors from 48 countries set to begin their search for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons in Baghdad, the story of Solomon takes on new relevance.
Those speculating about the success of the inspection have questioned everything from the politics of the mission to the inexperience of the inspectors. Will time constraints compromise the integrity of the operation? Will political leanings color the inspectors' reports? Will the team's relative inexperience, in combination with Saddam Hussein's past tendency to obstruct and deceive, result in a frustrated and unsuccessful inspection process?
Like Solomon, we can pray to bear witness to that Mind that can never falter or fail to discern what needs to be discerned. The human mind may be limited and easily fooled, swayed, confused, or confounded. But the divine Mind is fully reliable. It is not limited by inexperience or subject to the pressures of time and politics. Looking to this Mind for guidance results in clear direction and wise decisionmaking.
Solomon was able to partake of this discernment because of his humility. He gave up ego in favor of a conception of himself as having the "understanding heart" that every one of God's ideas has (see I Kings 3:9). This is the understanding that cuts through the darkness and confusion and leads the way to breaking down political barriers.
Evil in the face of Truth
Solomon's response to the women didn't spring from an attempt to reconcile or make sense of the claims of two warring minds. He took action based on what God directed him to do. Truth uncovered the powerlessness of evil.
Truth still uncovers the powerlessness of evil. Rather than give in to speculation and skepticism about the success of this latest phase in the inspection process, rather than attempt to make sense of evil's claims, we can rest in the knowledge that Mind is the source of wisdom, expressing that wisdom through each of His ideas.
Fear that evil is devious enough to outwit good is mistaken. The Mind that guided Solomon provides the intelligence and direction that conquers evil. And when we humbly turn to this Mind for guidance, we cannot help seeing Truth come to light. And conflict resolved.
At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good. Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.
Mary Baker Eddy
(founder of the Monitor)