Hope for nations in selfless acts

A Christian Science perspective: A response to the Monitor’s View editorial ‘In a smaller world, giants must tread with care.’

Late summer devaluations of the Chinese currency, the renminbi, sent tremors through the global economy, including stock markets in the United States and other countries. Concerns have been expressed about the ability of businesses to compete fairly with their Chinese counterparts under circumstances in which prices of Chinese goods may be artificially low. In fact, this is thought to have been, at least in part, the motivation behind the actions of the Chinese government – to help an ailing domestic economy, even if it is at the expense of the economic health of other nations.

A Christian Science Monitor editorial on this subject pointed out the need for nations to look out not just for their own self-interest but for the interests of other countries, bringing to bear in their decision-making a broader sense of fairness – blessing others as well as their own citizens. This is particularly so when their decisions may have a direct impact on the prosperity of other nations, the editorial pointed out (see “In a smaller world, giants must tread with care,” CSMonitor.com).

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington last Friday provides fresh urgency to the need to see higher motivation on the part of all nations in regard to areas of common concern such as cybersecurity, global markets, and the environment.

Are such higher motivations in the actions of individuals, as well as of nations, too much to hope for in a world in which self-interest often seems to trump concern for others?

The profound teachings of Christ Jesus more than 2,000 years ago may provide a powerful healing model to resolve such pressing world problems today. However complex the relations of nations and the interconnectivity of the global economy have become, the underlying need to lift the motives and aims of nations and individuals to protect and safeguard the security of people everywhere is not new.

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the tremendous healings that came right out of those teachings illustrate the need for higher, more unselfish motives​ that accompany this understanding​. Although it may seem counterintuitive, the key to our own prosperity and health is to unselfishly bless and honor others. As Jesus put it: “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).

Rather than nice guys finishing last, aligning our thoughts and actions with God, the Principle and source of all goodness, actually opens our own thought to more of His blessings to be made manifest in our own lives, too.

How wonderful to know that kindness, respect, unselfish motives and aims, and honoring one another are all qualities that are native to the man and woman of God’s creating – created, as we all are, by a God who is divine Love itself. Referring to God as the all-intelligent Mind, Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy says, “A selfish and limited mind may be unjust, but the unlimited and divine Mind is the immortal law of justice as well as of mercy” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 36). Our acknowledging of these spiritual facts for ourselves and others, and living by them, helps to bring healing; it opens the way for the great blessings that unselfishness and the expression of God’s qualities can bring to individual lives – and to nations.

What is true for individuals is certainly true of nations as well. And we have the Psalmist’s assurance that the nations are indeed under God’s benevolent jurisdiction – that as divine Spirit, He governs all of His children spiritually; as divine Principle, He governs justly; as divine Love, God governs lovingly. Acting in accordance with divine Principle, Love, provides a framework in which justice and prosperity for all can more and more become the norm, giving evidence of the Psalmist’s promise: “All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone” (Psalms 86:9, 10).

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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.

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