Leading by moral example

A Christian Science perspective: A prayerful response to the Monitor editorial 'How US probe of FIFA bends global norms.'

The Monitor’s editorial, “How US probe of FIFA bends global norms,” points out that the US stand against corruption is making a positive difference. Other nations have been impelled to investigate their own dealings with the governing organization of world soccer (FIFA) and the FBI sees the US indictments of nine FIFA officials in May 2015 as challenging the view that bribery is a global norm. There’s an encouraging trend of countries being more likely to enforce their domestic laws against corruption.

Good moral character is certainly needed throughout the world arena, and efforts to establish it are helped by considering that it actually has a basis in law. The teachings of Christian Science emphasize the true nature of man as the child, or likeness, of God. Since God is Spirit, the good and pure source of all life, it follows that man must naturally be good and pure. As this truth becomes clearer to each of us, it replaces the tendency to see people as unable to resist the temptation to be immoral.

Our own conviction that goodness is the law of everyone's being gives solid hope that integrity can be brought to the surface, and it also improves our own decisions, actions, and words. The knowledge that we are genuinely God's children, and striving to act that way, is a spiritual influence that extends beyond ourselves. It gives courage to others, too, to stand up to bribery, dishonesty, and corruption as abnormal in sports, business, or politics. 

Improving moral standards in any situation begins with leading by example. The trust that we can each do that comes from knowing that divine Love, God, expresses itself through us. It's the divine right, the very design of each of God’s children, to be loving and honest. 

The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, “Beloved children, the world has need of you, – and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 110)! 

So what if we feel we aren’t up to the task of leading by example? It’s always helpful to look to the life of Christ Jesus for guidance. He expressed and taught the importance of compassion, love, unselfishness, humility, mercy, courage, and integrity. Maintaining in ourselves what Jesus loved can be done through the same understanding he had that such qualities belong universally to God’s children, and by knowing our daily effort to express these qualities ourselves is supported by divine power. Our desire to overturn rampant corruption can be fulfilled as we prayerfully trust this desire to God. 

All individuals have the innate spiritual ability to lead by moral example. May we each go forward with courage and conviction, grounded in our spiritual heritage, to purify the world around us!

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.