A Christian Science perspective: Recognizing that the desire to be honest is innate in everyone is a positive force for good.

Betrayal. Dishonesty. When we find ourselves in the path of wrongdoing, it can feel difficult to move past the hurt. Is there anything that can give us hope in these kinds of circumstances, and even bring healing?

I’ve found that a spiritual perspective can be a positive force for good. Looking at those we are dealing with from a different vantage point can actually effect change. Here is a small example from my own life that has since been an inspiration to me in other difficult situations.

To help meet a need in our town, I’d been working with a local businessman who’d promised our community 20 temporary horse stalls while an existing barn was being rebuilt. Four days before the barn demolition, I called to confirm.

“We don’t have any,” the man said. When I reminded him of his promise, he simply indicated that it wasn’t his problem.

I felt lied to, betrayed. But in spite of my anger, I managed to ask, “Would you check again and I’ll call you in the morning?”

“OK, but we don’t have any.” Click. He’d hung up.

I knew from experience that anger wasn’t going to get me anywhere. So I stood still for a moment, praying, asking God for help to see the situation in a better light. The response that came was to see things differently from how they looked on the surface. It was along the lines of, “God’s sons and daughters (which includes all of us) want to do the right thing.”

This standpoint made sense to me despite the vendor’s cavalier lack of caring; this was in line with what I had been learning from Christian Science, based on the Bible, which says, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, discerned from her study of the Scriptures that the true reality of our being, as God’s creation, is totally spiritual and good. So when we see a dishonest person, this is actually a false perception of the real, spiritual man, who is inherently truthful.

Can we expect results from simply changing this misperception in our own thinking, by affirming the true nature of God’s man right here, right now? Yes! That day, as I asked God to help me see the man God knows, who has an innate capability and desire to be good, my anger dissipated. I saw the vendor in a different light.

The next morning I called back and it was as if the previous conversation had never happened. The stalls were delivered by noon.

Since then, whenever I encounter or hear of dishonesty, I remember this idea: God’s man inherently wants to be good. While it’s a big order to discipline thought to this spiritual view, doing it when we’re confronted with wrongdoing can begin to effect change that benefits the world around us.

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

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