PEOPLE sometimes seem to feel human rights have nothing to do with spiritual progress. But one good look at the Bible dissolves such a notion. Spiritual progress inevitably brings greater freedom to our lives. The heroic lives of Moses, Daniel, Paul, and especially Christ Jesus, illustrate this point.
Courage is an inescapable ingredient in the pursuit of spiritual growth. So it must be just as necessary in the pursuit of human rights. That may sound obvious, for it seems that even the smallest steps of progress toward improved human rights and greater spiritual freedom demand great individual courage. That's because steps in gaining human rights often do not come without overcoming fierce resistance.
When God asked Moses to return to Egypt to lead the children of Israel out of slavery, Moses demurred. He complained, the Bible tells us in Exodus, of his own inadequacy, and objected that there was no one to accompany him. Could it be that Moses did not feel he had sufficient courage for this task?
God's power and presence silenced Moses' objections, and he did go forward, following God's bidding. God's assurance, ``My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest,'' gave Moses the courage he needed to free the people of Israel. Their journey has become an example, for many people, of how individuals and nations can escape the slavery of materialism and learn to worship God, Spirit. The Israelites' freedom came as they responded to God's command to worship Him alone. ``My presence shall go
with thee.'' Isn't recognizing this presence of God the basis of real courage? And since God is infinite, He is not just powerful--He is all-power. This power is not measured in terms of muscle or material might. Instead, we find it in His love, tenderness, and unfailing care.
God is well able to bring peace, healing, and freedom to His children. And His might is squarely behind goodness and justice in every struggle for human rights. Anyone who is concerned with the quest for human rights can trust that the quiet presence of God is always with him or her. When we've responded to His presence, God will guide us wisely and effectively--in our prayers and in just the right practical steps we need to take.
Christian Science throws vital light on the nature of the spiritual courage that's needed in any fight for human rights. It's not bravado or recklessness--not a strong-willed exertion of muscle that goes forward without waiting for God's direction.
The courage we need to be successful in bettering the human condition is modeled after the steadfast bravery that Christ Jesus showed us. It is a willingness to move forward, following God's will even though great barriers may appear. Mary Baker Eddy, author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, says in this book: ``There is too much animal courage in society and not sufficient moral courage. Christians must take up arms against error at home and abroad. They must grapple with sin in themselv es and in others, and continue this warfare until they have finished their course. If they keep the faith, they will have the crown of rejoicing.''
Make no mistake. While more moral courage is needed in our world, that courage is already at work. It inspires us to join in the quest to know ourselves as we are: man made in God's image. By joining this fight, we'll find ourselves in the best position to pray and act intelligently to help any battle for human rights in which we might find ourselves.