Leading with humility
A Christian Science perspective: True humility is strengthening, not demeaning.
—It’s tempting to buy into the common belief that having a high opinion of oneself is the route to accomplishing great things. But the greatest leader of all time, Christ Jesus, a man whose life and teachings have healed countless people and inspired billions to become Christians, said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). It’s worth thinking through how meekness (or humility, to use the term more accepted today) carries such power.
Humility is the acknowledgment that we draw our capacities from a source other than ourselves. Jesus understood that source to be God. “I can of mine own self do nothing,” he said. “As I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). In his humble acknowledgment of God as his source of strength and intelligence, Jesus expressed the Christ, God’s eternal message of love and truth to humanity, with supreme clarity and authority. And because of his spiritual clarity, he was able to lead the way to an understanding of God as the loving Father and Mother of all, an understanding that has transformed lives.
Jesus’ example and teachings still transform lives today, especially as elucidated in Christian Science. This Science leads to the understanding of man as God’s spiritual reflection. This is the true identity of each of us. We can all turn to and follow this Christly light, which opens the way to the realization that health and harmony are God’s will for us and everyone.
Humility is sometimes misunderstood as weakness. For example, one definition of the word is “the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.” No wonder people often shy from the word! But real humility does not include anything demeaning. Not only did Jesus understand his own unique identity as the Son of God, he taught that we are all God’s children – spiritual, perfect, of infinite importance to the divine Father-Mother. Being humble means rising to see ourselves and everyone as spiritually reflecting the power and love of God – and to think and act accordingly.
This understanding of God and His creation enables us to express the qualities needed to lead with integrity, insight, and confidence – to let God’s goodness, which is here, now and forever, shine through us. This diminishes a limited, material sense of self – as the eternal, unlimited, spiritual self of our real being is revealed to us as already polished to a high luster.
I’ve also found it helpful when thinking of leadership to see God as the one Ego. This term for God – Ego – reflects how Moses understood God. “I AM THAT I AM,” God told Moses (Exodus 3:14). “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, defines I AM as “God; incorporeal and eternal Mind; divine Principle; the only Ego” (p. 588).
We don’t need more noise or personal egotism to lead us to a better world. We need the peace and wisdom of Christly meekness. As we strive, in childlike humility, to practice and follow the leadership of Christ – to allow the I AM to shine through our lives – we are able to help others to see and express more of God, divine Mind and Principle. And through these efforts we can help negate the belief that selfishness or egotism is inevitable, and see more clearly the evidence of God’s government in action.