Persistence fueled by hope and conviction

A Christian Science perspective: A spiritual response to the Monitor’s View “Romania’s lesson in public integrity.”

Masses of Romanian citizens recently gathered at night, holding up their illuminated mobile phones as a “signal of hope.”

They are hoping for “honest governance” and have come to see the value of persistently protesting against government corruption, according to a recent Monitor’s View (“Romania’s lesson in public integrity,” Feb. 18). The piece points out that progress is being made, so “reformers should not be discouraged by persistent corruption in their country.” While government corruption may have a long history, Romanian scholar Dr. Alina Mungiu-Pippidi says, “It would be wrong to believe that a country is entirely doomed by poor history.” These words are substantiated by the strong example of the Romanian people demonstrating persistence fueled by hope and conviction.

Faced with government corruption today, we may question how we can sustain hope for progress. As we look for answers, many find words of encouragement in the Bible, which speaks of having hope in God when confronting life’s challenges: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God ...” (Psalms 42:11).

Strong support for this hope can be found in what we learn from the perfect example of Christ Jesus, who understood that the only kingdom and true government is God’s, and that God is the only true power in the universe (see Matthew 6:9-13). He demonstrated through his healing works that corruption, in government or elsewhere, is based on the perception that we live in a deteriorating, material world, and that this view is corrected through an understanding of spiritual reality, which is grounded in God, who is Spirit.

Today, it is possible to follow the example of Jesus and persistently pray and maintain hope in God. This can be done by affirming that God, Spirit, is the only true power governing the universe, including leaders and nations. The Bible also states that God is good (see, for example, Psalm 143:10). So any propensity for leaders to be corrupt or immoral ultimately has no basis in God and, consequently, has no foundation.

The founder of this publication, Mary Baker Eddy, explains: “God could never impart an element of evil, and man possesses nothing which he has not derived from God. How then has man a basis for wrong-doing? Whence does he obtain the propensity or power to do evil? Has Spirit resigned to matter the government of the universe?” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 539). Understanding the omnipotence of Spirit even to a degree, we see the answer is a resounding “No!”

And Christ Jesus’ strong example can continue to encourage us, for it was his clear understanding of man’s spiritual relationship to God as His pure and perfect offspring, that enabled him to transform individuals who engaged in wrongdoing, such as Zacchaeus (see Luke 19). Speaking of Jesus’ ability to reform and heal, Mrs. Eddy writes, “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.” She continues: “Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy” (Science and Health, pp. 476-477).

The understanding of man’s pure, moral nature as God’s spiritual offspring can help us overcome corruption. This spiritual view shows us that God has always been the true governor of man, and immorality has never had any control. Standing with these truths – and praying with persistence fueled by a strong hope in God and a conviction of His goodness and omnipotence – we can expect to see a lessening of corruption, in government and elsewhere in the world.

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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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