True Leadership

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

This newspaper's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, stated, "The true leader of a true cause is the unacknowledged servant of mankind" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 266). The example of leadership set by Christ Jesus is still worth striving for today. When his disciples were quarreling as to which of them was the greatest, he explained, "I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). Earlier he had made a similar remark: "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matthew 20:27). Whether you are a Christian or not, these words of Jesus are meaningful.

Far from demonstrating materialistic power, Jesus proved that true leadership comes from obeying God. He demanded not only outwardly moral actions, but an inner purity of thought and motive. This approach challenged the ancient law of retaliation. Although "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" represented significant moral reform over conventional tribal practices -- whereby punishment for offenses may have exceeded the crimes committed -- Jesus forbade vindictiveness. One was to petition neither for fire to come down and consume those who had erred (see Luke 9:51-56), nor for physical force to be used intentionally to maim an enemy (see Matthew 26:51-52 and Luke 22:49-51). Jesus came to save, not to destroy.

It is not out of anger that criminals should be punished, for this would actually further terrorism. The need for penalties arises from moral demands, which maintain that men and women must be redeemed from sin, and that human justice must reflect divine justice. Jesus' model of leadership requires actual spiritual power -- power from God -- to overcome physical force and immorality in its different forms. Through God's power alone, men and women find the courage to be humble and the humility to be courageous. Humility involves listening to God and fearlessly obeying the guidance we receive from Him.

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Terrorism can be defused in the world through the type of leadership that is based on serving God. On good. On Principle. This leadership encourages a universal, unselfish love for one's fellow beings. It acknowledges that God is the only real power. This is leadership that is so faithful to truth that it derives wisdom and foresight.

Not just Jesus, but prophets such as Elijah and Elisha had such foresight by means of their humble obedience to God. For example, when Syria warred against Israel, Elisha knew repeatedly where the Syrians were going to strike next, although he had no human information to go by (see II Kings 6:8-12). The Biblical seers learned to see beyond the material, to the spiritual.

Today we can learn to be better followers of Jesus and to foster better world leadership. Such leadership is too comprehensive to be confined to ritual, dogma, or creed. But it does require individual receptivity to thoughts and ideas coming from God. Each one of us can hear God as we honestly seek the truth. Deceitfulness that attempts to protect cherished but morally weak or unsound convictions can be wiped out. Through an alertness that detects evil as separate from person and eradicates it, deceitfulness can be replaced with the innocency of a child, a natural love, an obedience to goodness. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, observes, "The despotic tendencies, inherent in mortal mind and always germinating in new forms of tyranny, must be rooted out through the action of the divine Mind" (p. 225).

God has given man authority to overthrow despotism. Because it operates primarily in mental ways, we can oppose it prayerfully (1) by acknowledging that evil has no true power, and (2) by correctly identifying God's creation as spiritual. As such, good is infinite and encompasses all peoples; we are each God's child.

As the understanding of God redeems human consciousness, one discovers that there really is nothing more powerful than divine grace. By relying on God for foresight, guidance, and protection, we can promote the leadership that begins to destroy despotism and terrorism.

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