New Thought Editorials > Living the Truth

 

Winter 2011

Living the Truth

Integrity is a word that is often heard in New Thought, as we say that someone is "out of integrity" rather than specifically accusing him or her of some particular shortcoming. This is not only diplomatic, but also helps to keep us from steeping ourselves in negativity. What is most important, of course, is that we ourselves be in integrity at all times with respect to all situations.

What is integrity? Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines it as "firm adherence to a code of esp. moral or artistic values", "an unimpaired condition", "the quality or state of being complete or undivided". Synonyms include incorruptibility, soundness, completeness, and honesty. The root of the word is related to integer, which is used to refer to a number that cannot be subdivided. What this really means is our internal consistency, our being all of a piece, because "a house divided against itself cannot stand". It means not saying one thing and doing another, not doing one thing in public and another in private, not misleading others concerning the facts of a situation. Our Judeo-Christian code of moral values is the Ten Commandments.

If we in any sense claim to be followers of Jesus, our moral code is to love God with all our heart and soul and mind, and our neighbors as ourselves. This principle carries everywhere and in all circumstances, but the appropriate application may vary. Love might mean tough love, or it might mean not being brutally honest in a situation where feelings might be hurt while no great good was being done. Loving our neighbors as ourselves means win/win or no deal, simply walking away from a situation where either party would sustain a loss. Loving God, New Thought style, means being aware of God’s presence at all times and in all situations and aligning our will with God’s will, which is always for our highest good. Our highest good, unlike what a lot of people believe, is ultimately joyous and delightful, in line with our truest values and desires, even if it gets murky during the short run. It means turning to God at all the choice points, seeking guidance and strength, putting God in place of the problem. If we do these things, we will be in integrity.

God intends that each of us should have the opportunity to develop our own particular talents to the utmost, to live in freedom and abundance. There is no evidence that God ever wants us to be our brother’s keeper, to jerk him around according to what we believe is best for him—or worse, best for us. We can and should be kind and generous, but if people are not free to fail, they are also not free to succeed.

Truth is the property of a statement, reflecting how closely that statement approximates the actual situation. We are out of integrity when we suppress or ignore the truth, which is the case with many individuals and organizations that we rely on for information and leadership. We are also out of integrity when we "bear false witness against [our] neighbor", spreading lies and rumors simply because we disagree with the person or because we have a hidden agenda that involves manipulating others. When this lack of integrity becomes widespread, it can bring down an entire nation. Although New Thought always strives to put the best face possible on events, this must be done in integrity. The truth must be told in some intellectually honest fashion. It is also out of integrity to grab powers that are not rightfully ours, to pretend to unlawful authority. Further, we have an obligation to see that our children and those of others are given accurate, honest history, and appropriate training in fiscal matters suitable to whatever occupation they choose to pursue.

Finally, salvation, however you define it, is individual. We are saved one soul at a time, not by groups. Groups are made up of individuals, and to view individuals as groups dehumanizes them and tends to turn them into victims instead of encouraging them to rise above their circumstances. To be in integrity is to be indivisible. Each of us is perfect, whole, and complete. We are one made up of many, as varied as snowflakes. We deserve to be honored as individuals, in integrity.