Waiting for Pakistan's Supreme Court to render its decision regarding the legality of Pervez Musharraf's reelection has caused much speculation about who and what really is governing Pakistan. The decision is slated for sometime after Oct. 17.
In the daily column of this newspaper, "Reporters on the Job," Mark Sappenfield told of a Pakistani citizen whom he'd interviewed, Khalid Iqbal, who said that Pakistanis should look to themselves for change, indicating that present leaders could not be trusted. He said, " 'The prophet said the ruler is a reflection of his people. If it is a tyrant then we must look into our own souls.' " The conversation continued, "In a moment of candor, [Mr. Iqbal] mused that if he were given [control] of a [government] ministry right now, he'd turn into the same kind of person" (Oct. 9).
I've been thinking about his response – that citizens of any nation and the people who govern them are not necessarily separate; they react to and influence one another. While sometimes it's true that we get the government we deserve, some have also found that being more alert to let God govern our lives contributes to a more honest and effective political environment.
People naturally want wisdom to reign in their lives and their governments. And the Bible describes clearly the good that flows from obedience to wisdom: "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17).
Letting this divine wisdom guide our lives makes us a better, more spiritually governed electorate. This wisdom is "first pure." It's not mixed with human theories about what should be done or remembrance of how things have always been done. Seeking God's wisdom and direction necessitates giving up all opinions – really giving them up – and being willing to follow where wisdom leads.
Mary Baker Eddy, who expressed much wisdom in many areas of her life – including the founding of this newspaper – wrote, "Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 571). I can't help thinking of the Pakistani quoted earlier, who expressed such honest, unflattering self-knowledge. I believe that this kind of honesty expresses, by contrast, a sense of the ideal man, made in God's likeness, and helps us discern what is wrong in human consciousness. Without a knowledge of the ideal, we have no standard on which to base our judgments. Knowing ourselves, both spiritually and humanly, opens us up to God's infinite supply of wisdom.
The statement quoted above from Science and Health says that God's supplying of wisdom comes before we have the occasion for "a victory over evil." I've felt comforted over the years by this knowledge that when confronted with evil, I already had the wisdom to overcome evil with good. This doesn't mean ceasing to pray for more wisdom, but it does avoid a frantic search for it. And the Bible verse quoted earlier states that this God-given wisdom is "easy to be entreated." Pakistanis, as well as all citizens everywhere, have the God-given wisdom to free their governments from evil and corruption.
While I love the form of human government that I live under, which happens to be a democracy, I know that the governing influence in every life reflects to some degree the wisdom that is from God. My prayers for Pakistan and for every country affirm this divine government. Each citizen can, and must, look carefully at his or her own thinking to find where merely partisan and hypocritical views may have gained a foothold. We can express the wisdom to do this and rule out the tyranny of corrupt governments. With the broad international news coverage in our world today, who rules in Pakistan is influenced for good by prayers from every continent.