Being right, or in the right, may seem to us at times to be the greatest virtue. However, this conviction can be attended by the expression of pride, bigotry, intolerance, and even hatred toward those we consider to be wrong. The end result is not really the expression of righteousness, but a perversion of it.
The Bible states: “If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:14-17).
This passage identifies true wisdom as being “from above.” The source of true wisdom and righteousness, then, is God, and whatever originates in God is without fault, is truly right, and is incorruptible.
“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science, states: “The real man is spiritual and immortal...” (p. 409). As we grow in the understanding of everyone’s true identity as God’s creation, we will begin to obtain, express, and help others find the real righteousness that is ours, “from above.”
So, how do we know if we’re on the right track? How do we know when we’re really abiding in truth? It’s when we’re abiding in love for God, and for the real creation described in the first book of the Bible: “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Christian Science uses the terms Truth and Love, capitalized, as synonyms for God. They both refer to the one Supreme Being. This means that Truth and Love are one. They cannot exist apart from each other. There cannot be Love without Truth, or Truth without Love.
So even if we think we are 100 percent right, that we know all the facts and have the correct judgment about a given situation, if we are without love, then we are also in some measure without truth, and so we would be in some way without real rightness.
This fact is beautifully expressed by the Apostle Paul in the Bible: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (I Corinthians 13:1, 2, New King James Version).
When our thoughts and actions are in line with divine Love’s, God’s, will, they can’t help but bless ourselves and others – and being a blessing is always right. On the other hand, willfulness may lead us far away from love and therefore from truth. One way to know whether we’re following Love’s directing is to see if we’re thinking and acting in obedience to Christ Jesus’ teaching to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (see Matthew 22:34-40).
If we are ever unsure of what might be the right thing to do, we can always pray to know that God, Love, expresses in us not only the wisdom to be discerning but also the love that guides us into the most loving thing to do. When our thoughts abide in divine Love, Truth, we can’t go wrong.
This article was adapted from an article in the Oct. 31, 2016, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.