Wise leaders

A Christian Science perspective: The power and goodness of God, reflected by us, uplifts the mental environment and leads to better government.

History has shown that a country and its citizens are more likely to prosper if the country’s leaders are wise, just, and honest. Clearly, if they’re not honorable and upright, the outcome may be corruption, poverty, or even war. There have been plenty of examples over the years of all types of leaders.

In one instance, a king – the biblical King Solomon, who understood God as the source of wisdom and justice – demonstrated how an insightful leader can govern with wisdom and grace (see I Kings 3).

Two women who had recently given birth came before King Solomon, both claiming to be the mother of the same baby. One woman claimed the other’s baby had died during the night, so the mother had secretly switched her dead child with the woman’s son. The other woman denied the accusation and said the living child was hers. The king was to sort it out. How would a ruler know what to do in such a case?

The idea that came to him was to call for the child to be divided in two, and he told both women they could each have half. Horrified at the thought of her baby being lost in this way, one of the women immediately cried out, asking the king to give the child to the other woman rather than see it die. The other agreed with the king’s suggestion to divide it. The king quickly noted that the real mother was the one who could not bear to see any harm come to the child, and the child was restored to her.

Unfortunately, when we look around the world, leaning on God for the wisdom to reign justly isn’t always a quality we see in our leaders. Yet a country consists of more than just whoever is in power at any given moment, even if a ruler or government seems to wield all the levers of power. Each of us can contribute, in some degree, to elevating the mental environment of our country and world and bearing witness to God’s wisdom and love.

Christian Science explains that the true nature of everyone is that we are the spiritual children of God, the expressions of infinite Love. God truly governs each of us, according to the Bible: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned” (Revelation 11:17, New King James Version). Therefore, it is our very nature to express divine qualities such as wisdom, fairness, insight, and compassion. By turning our hearts to God, we find we are empowered to act in a way that’s consistent with our true, spiritual identity – to magnify God’s goodness, justice, and love. This also gives us spiritual authority to insist that the goodness of God’s creation be made constantly more evident through leadership that reflects these qualities.

As we cherish and live these ideas, this supports an environment of integrity that in turn works as a divine influence in thought, encouraging more of this way of thinking and acting throughout society. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, observed, “The characters and lives of men determine the peace, prosperity, and life of nations” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 277).

This is more than individual human beings expressing good qualities; it’s about the power and goodness of the ever-present God becoming more clearly reflected by us, God’s creation. It is divine Love expressed that uplifts the mental environment and leads to better government.

It’s not to say that patience and a lot of persistence are not needed to further the goal of reasonable and fair-minded government around the world. But we can acknowledge the power of God, good, over evil, and bear witness to this truth, responding to and being led by an understanding of good’s supremacy. This nurtures the growth and flourishing of these modes of thought in our homes, communities, and the world.

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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.”

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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.

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