When it comes to politics, says today’s contributor, humility is key. But humility is not the monopoly of certain people or parties. It’s a quality we all can treasure, because it lies in letting God empower everything we say and do.

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Last year I volunteered in a campaign for someone running for office at the state level. As I worked with the other, more experienced volunteers, I was impressed by their humility in talking to voters – really wanting to hear what people felt. And although the candidate didn’t win the primary election, she was gracious in defeat.

To me, she was exhibiting strength in the face of disappointment after such hard work. But it also showed me how to cherish humility in terms of my own attitude toward the candidates who ultimately ran for office. Moving forward, I found myself listening less for speeches that emphasized personal will or personality and paying more attention to promises of a willingness to work with others and to learn how to do a good job – for us, the people.

As candidates begin to jockey for a place in the next presidential election in the United States, I’ve been thinking about the qualities that I would hope for in the individuals representing my community in local and national government. For me, humility is a key one.

Sometimes humility is thought of as being wimpy – just doing the least or letting others decide for you. But the Bible, a book I’ve studied for many years, presents a more spiritual view of true humility as actually strengthening us and as a quality that’s not the monopoly of any particular person or group, but open to all.

Consider Moses, who was just shepherding flocks one day when God commanded him to take on the formidable job of freeing the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and leading them to the Promised Land (see Exodus 3:1-12). Like any normal person, Moses asked, in effect, “Why me? The Egyptian Pharaoh is very important, and I am a nobody by comparison.”

Then God gave him the insight that opened the way for all the good that followed: “Certainly I will be with thee.”

Through my study of Christian Science, I’ve come to see that Moses’ journey wasn’t successful because of any personal power or prowess. It was Moses’ willingness to listen for and act on inspired thoughts from God that made the difference.

Moses was often tested as he struggled with the challenges that came his way from Pharaoh, from the Israelites – who could be ornery at times – and from the wilderness conditions they faced. But one thing that impresses me is that Moses didn’t say he was the one who would solve all the problems. No matter how exasperated he was, Moses turned to God for guidance, and there was consistently a solution.

That is something we can do also. Christian Science explains that we are always at one with God as His spiritual reflection or idea. Christ Jesus made this point very clear when he said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30).

That spirit of humility – not my power, but God’s power – is true humility, and it is transforming, while its opposite hinders us, as Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, pointed out. Her “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896” notes: “Human pride is human weakness. Self-knowledge, humility, and love are divine strength” (p. 358).

In my own life, I’ve seen this to be so and time after time have found that turning to God for guidance, even in small things (and certainly nothing so great as parting the Red Sea, as Moses did!), has led to solutions that bless.

Whether we’re gearing up to run for office or simply going about our daily tasks, each of us can strive to accept God’s loving care, to let Him govern our lives, and to recognize in our own way what Moses and Jesus showed: that God does guide and protect all of us and leads us only to good. Striving to let God empower everything we say and do is a living vote for greater humility in our 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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.