Chances are you’re reading this article using an internet connection. And if you’re an internet user, then soon you’ll be “an internet citizen.” As the Monitor reports, the United States will soon hand over full control of the internet to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN. This change of hands to a nongovernmental body speaks to “progress in human thinking about self-governance and the social contract needed to sustain it” (“Yes ICANN,” CSMonitor.com).
Self-governance, or self-rule, isn’t just helpful for ensuring the integrity of an invention or an organization, though; it’s helpful in maintaining our own integrity. And that becomes a real possibility when we ourselves start our self-rule from a pure basis.
The founder of this publication and the discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, explains in her writings that this true basis, law, or government comes from “Principle,” which is another name for God. From her deeply immersed and inspired study of the Bible, Mrs. Eddy found that because we come from a “just and right” God (see Deuteronomy 32:4 and Ephesians 4:6) we ourselves come from a principled basis. This means we are all governed by God, and we each inherently have the ability to govern with integrity.
But what does it really mean to “govern with integrity”? Certainly truth and honesty are part of rightful government. In following the teachings of Christ Jesus, Mrs. Eddy found that God's rule is not only characterized by being just, benevolent, and giving; it is fundamentally loving. This is made clear in the life and teachings of Jesus. Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Jesus’ teaching and practice of Truth involved such a sacrifice as makes us admit its Principle to be Love” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 26). And Jesus asked all of his followers, during his lifetime and for all ages to come, to be obedient to God, Love, by loving unconditionally.
So how do we follow the teaching of this Principle, Love? Is divine Love some general sense of “being nice”? Is it something that just makes you “feel good” or “happy”? St. Paul explains that we express divine Love when we are being charitable, patient, enduring, and true. He says that anything envious, boastful, "puffed up," or “easily provoked” is a counterfeit (see I Corinthians 13).
I remember getting a better glimpse of this in my days as a reporter. Any article I wrote that was provoked by anger or something other than the motivation to love or do good would fall apart. In one particular case, even though I felt I was uncovering an injustice for the betterment of others, I felt self-justified in writing it. I was willfully writing to force a particular outcome. I soon realized that starting from that angered and self-justified basis had made the article more problematic than helpful. It became clear to me that starting with hate, anger – though seeming to be justified – produced illegitimate work. I saw in the end that I needed to start with being selfless, tempered, and charitable. I needed to start with divine Love as the foundation for my work.
Mrs. Eddy writes, “Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love” (Science and Health, p. 106).
When I strove to start with divine Love, it was clear that my articles did more to help. And it wasn’t just my articles. I learned that when we make divine Love the basis for all we do, we are able to do well, to be guided well, and to govern well.