Doing What's Right
IT seems hard to do what's right always. It's even been said that we don't always have difficulty choosing between right and wrong so much as we do choosing between what's right and what's best.
If we use the Ten Commandments as a "measuring stick, however, it's much easier to know and do what's right--and what's best--under any circumstances. The Commandments, which are found in the book of Exodus in the Bible, clarify our relationship to God and our relationship to each other. When we obey them, they guide us in the right direction. The Commandments are a good measuring stick because they help us make better decisions. Keeping the Commandments close to our heart and thought-- obeying the guida nce of God's law--makes us more satisfied with our life. And we needn't feel that we'll be deprived or "finish last because we make obedience to God the first priority in our lives. Man, made in God's image, isn't penalized for doing good, for following God's laws. Instead we'll find that what's right is what's best--for us as well as those around us.
But our experience certainly changes when we make honest efforts to obey the Commandments. For example, when we follow the First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me, to our best ability, we understand better that God is all-powerful, all-loving. And the more we feel and trust His ever-presence, the less willing we'll be to let anything but His law govern our lives. As we begin to recognize that God is the only cause, the only power, we start to let go of all the "other gods that are so destructive to genuine freedom and happiness.
Christ Jesus summarized the Commandments in his reply to a lawyer who asked him what the "great commandment was. Matthew's Gospel records Jesus' reply: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Loving our neighbor is easier when we pray to understand man's relation to God more clearly.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, describes the effects of doing right in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: "In the scientific relation of God to man, we find that whatever blesses one blesses all, as Jesus showed with the loaves and the fishes,--Spirit, not matter, being the source of supply.
When we begin to understand that man is spiritual because God created him in His own image and likeness--created man unfallen, perfect, honest, loving--then we find that man has everything needed to reflect his creator, God. This is our genuine, spiritual identity. Prayer enables us to listen for, and act on, God's commands, and doing this, in turn, improves our experience. Christ Jesus proved God to be the only cause each time he healed. His love for God undergirded his spiritual understanding of what w as right--of what was God's will--and he acted accordingly. Our love for God also expands to love for our neighbor as our motives and desires are purified.
The desire to do what's right is the first step in fostering the ability to do what is right. But more than mere human desire is needed. Acknowledging God's ability to govern His child har- moniously shows us how to listen to, and follow, God's guidance. This is how we do what's right.
Knowing exactly what to do under every circumstance may seem like a dream today. But as we cultivate a greater spiritual understanding of God and of man's relationship to Him, we'll begin to know, and do, what's right more often.