A Christian Science perspective: True understanding is compassionate.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be right all the time? Not 8 out of 10 times, or 9 out of 10, but 10 out of 10 times, consistently?
Some people certainly express the kind of intelligence that often enables them to know an answer, a needed fact, or the action that should be taken in apparently any situation. Maybe they’re very good at finding their way, doing calculations, or just knowing what’s what. And that kind of capacity can be a blessing.
But are they really always right in the sense of not just coming up with a correct answer but also in expressing their knowledge in the right, helpful, even uplifting way? Can they also discern the best course in complex moral dilemmas? Or does human will, inflexibility, or even arrogance sometimes accompany an insistence on always being right?
Asserting our human capacity to be right all of the time is actually not the right course of action. Experience shows that human intellect alone cannot always supply the best answers or the wisest decisions. Human will, which often accompanies the push to be always right, can be a source of discord and disruption – not only to others, but to the one who is being willful. It can blind us to what the right, moral action really is.
For example, the book of Acts shows us that Saul of Tarsus believed he was right to exercise his power and influence to persecute Christians. He zealously continued acting in this way until he had a dramatic experience of being inspired, and tremendously transformed by the Christ, on the road to Damascus. This powerful coming of Christ to his thought revealed to him that there was a far higher, better approach to life than the course he was taking (see Acts 9:1-20).
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, recognized that the human mind of itself lacks the capacity to be always right. In her textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she says: “Saul of Tarsus beheld the way – the Christ, or Truth – only when his uncertain sense of right yielded to a spiritual sense, which is always right. Then the man was changed. Thought assumed a nobler outlook and his life became more spiritual” (p. 326).
Saul, who subsequently took the new name of Paul, learned that only spiritual sense is always right. We, too, can realize that only the wisdom that is “from above” is fully reliable (see James 3:17) because God is Mind, the infinite source of all intelligence. This divine Mind also includes the quality of love, because God is Love, as the Bible says – and the blending of love with wisdom is essential to being right in all that we do.
So how can we gain this spiritual sense that Mrs. Eddy says is “always right”? She describes spiritual sense as follows: “Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality” (Science and Health, p. 298). We each have this sense inherently, because as the offspring of God – made in His image, as the Bible explains (see Genesis 1:26, 27) – we express the spiritual sense, the spiritual capacities, of divine Mind. Therefore, each individual naturally and necessarily reflects the capacity to intuit, to have hope and faith, to understand God, and to experience fruition, or healing, as we become acquainted with the harmonious, God-created reality of our being.
By listening to God and being humbly willing to watch that our motives, thinking, and actions are in accord with a diviner standard of goodness and love, we will learn to put off the personal, willful sense of being right and to express the spiritual, unselfish sense that is always right.
In the Old Testament, King Solomon asks God for "an understanding heart” (I Kings 3:9). Shortly after God grants the request, Solomon proves his wisdom (see I Kings 3:18-27) when two women ask him to adjudicate a dispute over a baby both women claim to be theirs. Solomon’s spiritually endowed wisdom enabled him to discern an inspired way to resolve the dispute that was right for all involved.
The more we are willing, like Paul and Solomon, to exercise our spiritual sense and prayerfully turn to God as the source of wisdom, the more we will exemplify what it means to be right, in a graceful, loving, profound, and far-reaching way.