Cooperation through humility
A Christian Science perspective: A response to the Monitor’s View editorial ‘The right use of history in Asia’s future.’
One of the key points in the Monitor editorial “The right use of history in Asia’s future” (CSMonitor.com) is that Asia’s future will depend largely on how nations use their World War II history. The article also conveys some Asian nations’ recent tendency to “exploit historical wrongs to gain a geopolitical advantage” instead of promoting ideals that unite.
In praying about this, I’ve thought about how we read in the Bible (see Matthew 18:1-4) about Jesus’ disciples asking him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” The account continues, “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Our Savior taught that true greatness isn’t measured by rank or position, but measured by character, and attained through childlike humility – through expressing meekness and modesty instead of boastfulness, pride, or arrogance; through being willing to put aside self in service to others, to admit and correct one’s mistakes – even if others we’re working with aren’t – and to improve and learn. Because all of God’s spiritual creation – each one of us – reflects God, divine Love, everyone has the ability to understand and express humility.
Humility means accepting that we are all actually fully endowed and governed by the same infinite God, divine Mind, and therefore we have no need to compete for place or power. Seeking greatness in its true sense – which is goodness – enables us to reflect more of the greatness of God – to serve the greater good versus simply ourselves. Jesus’ disciples served the greater good as they worked toward their common goal – spreading the truth about the goodness of God’s kingdom and proving it on earth.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, further explains Christ Jesus’ teachings regarding the example of childlike humility. She states: “The pride of place or power is the prince of this world that hath nothing in Christ” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 4). Childlike humility is vital to our character because, as Jesus taught, it enables us to “enter into the kingdom of heaven” – to receive the reign of God within us by putting ourselves, our human will, aside and instead letting our thought yield to God’s power and goodness. This helps us bring a spirit of cooperation, rather than selfishness, to the table in our dealings with others.
Mrs. Eddy also explains that a selfish focus on pride, status, and power can affect national relations, too: “Competition in commerce, deceit in councils, dishonor in nations, dishonesty in trusts, begin with ‘Who shall be greatest?’ ” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1902,” p. 4). Humbly setting aside personal ambition and self-serving objectives in striving to achieve the common good supports cooperation, unity, peaceful resolution of differences, mutual respect, inclusiveness, and a willingness to learn from one another – helping make relations, whether between individuals or nations, more harmonious.
So how can we each nurture this childlike humility? We can begin with a sincere desire to grow in this quality and strive to express it in our own lives at every opportunity. We can also pray to God, acknowledging His supremacy and goodness. Such an understanding dissolves a self-centered focus on ambition, position, or power. Because we are God’s children, created in His image and likeness, it is natural for us to express spiritual qualities, including humility.
Through our prayers and sincere efforts, we can expect to progress in our own expression of meekness and unselfishness, setting an example of the cooperation and peace that such humility brings. And blessings will be felt by those around us and beyond.