When the noise of opinion is so overwhelming, so loud, we may find ourselves echoing John Lennon’s lyric “All I want is the truth / Just gimme some truth” (“Gimme Some Truth,” 1971). Yet one person’s or group’s “truth” can be exactly the opposite of what another claims as truth. How are we to know what is actually true? Is truth relative, or is there such a thing as absolute, pure truth, independent of opinions?
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was keenly engaged in humanity’s search for absolute truth. Referring to the question a Roman governor put to Jesus, she wrote: “The question, ‘What is Truth,’ convulses the world. Many are ready to meet this inquiry with the assurance which comes of understanding; but more are blinded by their old illusions, and try to ‘give it pause.’ ‘If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch’ ” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 223).
Truth, one of the synonyms for God taught in Christian Science, is not dependent on opinion, belief, or whim. Opinion is subjective and changeable. Divine Truth is absolute, perfect, loving, and good. It is the ultimate fact-checker. By aligning our thoughts with divine Truth as Jesus did, we can discern and uncover bias, manipulation, hypocrisy, and lies. And we can see them as illegitimate because they have no divine basis or support. The Bible tells us that God is Spirit, and as we yield to the goodness of God’s nature, we can prove our own true nature as God’s children to be wholly spiritual and good and founded securely on divine Truth.
A great example of the power of aligning thought with Truth is a Bible story about a Jewish leader called Nehemiah who inspired the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the wall of their city. This worthy, God-directed project met with intense opposition. Enemies ridiculed those working on the wall, made plans to attack, and spread a rumor that Nehemiah intended to rebel against the king. When that didn’t stop the work, they attempted to distract Nehemiah by urging him to meet with them – an invitation he wisely refused. Finally, they plotted to deceive and lure Nehemiah into hiding, which would likely have eroded the people’s trust in him and kept the nation in chaos and fear – just what his enemies wanted.
In each situation, however, Nehemiah’s spiritual intuition, discernment of Truth, and trust in his God-governed purpose protected him and kept him from being manipulated or intimidated. The wall and gates were finished successfully.
There’s a Bible verse that describes the nature of what divine Truth communicates to us: “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 3:17). Pure, peaceable, and gentle Truth is not perceptible to the physical senses, which are consumed with their own dialogue and material viewpoint. When we are faced with lies, it is important to recognize that the fundamental issue is impersonal. It isn’t people lying versus people telling the truth, but rather lying material sense saying that God made good and evil personalities versus spiritual Truth declaring each one’s true identity to be the image of Spirit, divine good.
When I was growing up, I heard conflicting testimony from two people close to me. I knew that one of them had to be lying and the other telling the truth, but as a child, I didn’t know which was which. At one point I became angry and hateful toward one of these individuals, which felt unnatural and uncomfortable – hardly “pure,” “peaceable,” and “gentle”!
As I continued to grow in my understanding of Christian Science, though, I began to notice actions more than words. I discerned honest speech backed up by honest living. I realized I’d fallen into the trap of thinking exactly the opposite of what was true about a loving and strong person. Affirming the fact that God is Love itself reestablished my love for this individual and dissolved the mental fog that had hidden the truth. The lie – along with the fear, confusion, and anger it tried to instill – proved to be powerless against the omnipotent, healing light of divine Truth and Love.
If we are faced with turmoil, confusion, uncertainty, or deceit, we can humbly listen to divine Truth speaking above the arrogance of opinion and the ignorance of blind belief. And we can trust that we are all able to discern between right and wrong, because we are all children of God, children of Truth.
Adapted from an article published in the April 12, 2021, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.