The Monitor’s editorial “Honesty’s force in a global drive against corruption” (CSMonitor.com) speaks of the longtime efforts by economists “to measure the effects of corruption on society.” It also poses the question, “what if research focused more on a country’s degree of honesty?” The editorial highlighted for me an important point: We shouldn’t simply zero in on what’s wrong when there’s a need to promote what’s right.
It reminded me of a helpful aspect of employee performance reviews. Such reviews often point out a worker’s strengths before getting into items requiring improvement. They start with a basis for further progress. Likewise, the editorial shifts the discussion to good that’s going on, proposing that economists accentuate what’s right as a foundation for dealing more effectively with what’s wrong. It also brings to mind a higher view of man, a view that becomes more apparent in the light that Christian Science sheds on the Scriptures.
For example, this Science, discovered and founded by Mary Baker Eddy, teaches the importance of obedience to the Bible’s Ten Commandments, which are crystal clear about wrong behavior that needs to be avoided. But Christian Science goes beyond the belief that man is by nature a sinner who has to be kept in line through strict rules. Instead, it opens thought to what the Bible brings out in its first chapter – everyone’s entirely good, actual nature as God’s image (see Genesis 1:26, 27, 31). A perception of this truth helps us see that obedience to the divine commands is natural, not foreign.
In the false concept of man as a sinner there’s no foundation for lasting improvement. But there is such a foundation in the recognition that it’s inherent in each individual, as the image of God, to do only what’s right. Christian Science teaches that the ultimate authority in our lives is what an inspired view of the Scriptures shows to be true – the perfection of God as Love itself, as Life and Truth, as limitless Spirit, and the perfection of man as God’s spiritual image. This timeless truth was the basis of Christ Jesus’ healing works and underlies Christian Science healing today.
While the Master condemned various forms of corruption, his ministry wasn’t about condemnation, but was about healing and salvation. As John’s Gospel says, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (3:17).
Christian Science approaches the work of redemption and healing through the understanding of what man really is, as opposed to what he appears to be materially. Mrs. Eddy writes: “If God is upright and eternal, man as His likeness is erect in goodness and perpetual in Life, Truth, and Love. If the great cause is perfect, its effect is perfect also...” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 79).
The concept of measuring honesty in the drive against corruption, then, is much more than a pleasant thought. It rests on a spiritually profound, practical basis for progress that supports us all in the effort to act rightly.