Humility leads to good decisions

A Christian Science perspective: Prayers for the climate summit in Paris.

I have been praying about the ongoing climate summit in Paris – not praying to change participants’ minds, but praying that the decisions made at the summit be wise, fair, and farsighted.

My prayers are acknowledging that each attendee at the summit has the wisdom that comes from God, the all-wise divine Mind – and has the meekness of heart that is receptive to that Mind. The Bible says that the humble heart hears God’s right direction: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalms 25:9). The meek hear the voice of God because meekness doesn’t let one’s human will and purely personal desires get in the way.

People have asked God for good judgment to guide their decision-making throughout human history. The young king Solomon, who became known for his wisdom, humbly said, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.... Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad” (I Kings 3:7, 9).

I’ve been learning in Christian Science that prayer for global issues starts as Solomon’s prayer did: with my own willingness to see that God’s man is the expression of His wisdom and purpose. Because this is the real identity of all of us, we have access to that wisdom, through our growth in humility and spiritual understanding.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes about the divine guidance that comes with humility: “Men give counsel; but they give not the wisdom to profit by it. To ask wisdom of God, is the beginning of wisdom. Meekness, moderating human desire, inspires wisdom and procures divine power” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” pp. 359-360).

Individuals respond to the direction of divine wisdom because man, as God has made him, is the spiritual reflection and idea of immortal Mind. In truth, God is right here and now the very Life and only consciousness of all that He creates. God blesses and directs man – you and me and everyone – through His good government. Our prayers, inspired with the understanding of these truths, will support any and all sincere desires and efforts to bless humanity that are there at the summit.

It takes humility to know and respond to the biblical truth that God is the true Mind of all, because to do so we must give up the pride of believing that our personal, human mind contains the answers to good decision-making. If we are conscious that God is truly supreme and the only real Mind, and we look to this Mind for guidance, we can expect to see the attributes of God – including understanding, love, and intelligence – directing our own decisions.

Divine power and direction were most evident in the life of Christ Jesus. In the Gospels, we find Jesus continually referring to God, his Father, as guiding him. He heard God’s direction because he put obedience to God, Spirit, above personal gain, comfort, wealth, or popularity. The reward of such unselfish and humble living was that Jesus knew what to do and say in every dangerous or complicated situation. His example of yielding to God takes decision-making out of the arena where conflicting opinions or goals vie for attention and puts it in God’s hands. It is the divine will that motivates His creation. We can pray to see that this is what is going on at the summit as well – that the influence of the divine Mind is uplifting the participants to purer, wiser decisions.

The daily right decisions we make in our own lives may seem very small in comparison, but they indicate the operation of Mind in our thought and actions. The decisions to be made at the summit will be complex, but because God is truly the Mind of each and every one of us, we can affirm what is already true – that all of us, at the summit and elsewhere, have the humility and ability to hear and follow God’s right direction.

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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.”

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