Supporting progress and human rights

What can we do to support progress and human rights in Afghanistan and elsewhere? Acknowledging that everyone is capable of feeling God’s healing, guiding, strengthening presence is a powerful place to start.

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With such an uncertain future facing Afghanistan, is there anything we can do to uphold human rights and find peace for all involved? This is the question I’ve been asking as the country enters a new phase following the withdrawal of foreign troops and emails continue to flow into my inbox asking for prayers for former fellow graduate students and their families seeking refuge.

Over and over I’ve found encouragement in the biblical assurance that we can face difficult things and yet stand firm. Why? Because God, good, is present to guide: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair” (II Corinthians 4:8). Even where circumstances look bleak, we have authority to find God – who “commanded the light to shine out of darkness” and “hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (II Corinthians 4:6, 7).

When reports of chaos and devastation fill the news cycle, it can seem as if God is missing in action. Yet any individual, wherever they may be – even in the midst of the toughest situation – can turn to the Divine for direction and assurance. And the light of divine wisdom and understanding from God is ever present, shining in every heart, to guide, protect, and move thought and action toward better, peaceful ends.

This occurs through the power of Christ, the divine influence that speaks to human consciousness and shifts thought. It’s the power Christ Jesus realized and manifested constantly, and which he taught us how to perceive and follow. Accounts shared in this column and other Christian Science publications illustrate how individuals all over the world are proving God’s healing power today, including when faced with difficult situations. Prayer imbued with this Christ-power breaks through mental barriers of anger, fear, and confusion that would hide divine goodness and keep solutions from being seen.

The Christ opens the way for those in danger to be led to sanctuary; for those needing solace and peace to find calm and quiet; for those perpetuating oppression and violence to begin to discover God’s love. This love of divine Love lifts thought out of a desire to control and dominate, and instead nurtures humility, peace, and harmony.

Acknowledging that the saving power of Christ, Truth, can be felt even in far-reaching areas of the world isn’t just a nice thing to do to make ourselves feel better. It offers a spiritual basis for taking a stand for the rights of all peoples, opening the way for the presence and power of Truth to be seen in the face of whatever would constrict, oppress, or harm. It empowers all of us to relinquish outdated views and embrace forward progress for everyone. It affirms that qualities such as courage and wisdom are God-given and thus available in abundance.

Such qualities are invaluable to the work of individuals on the front lines – such as Rangina Hamidi, an Afghan woman who has promoted women’s rights. She became the first female education minister in Afghanistan, and has vowed to stay in her country in support of continued progress, particularly for women (see Martin Kuz, “Looking back at Afghanistan as the past returns,”, Aug. 20, 2021). Opening thought to Christ reveals powerful ways to go forward that are creative, unlimited, and unimagined by the human mind. As we face down the lie of any oppressive circumstances in our own lives, it contributes to shifting the mental tapestry of thought in ways that can help change the tide of situations that seems solutionless.

And Christ helps us to recognize that the true narrative of our lives is spiritual – all of us as sons and daughters of God, in right relationship to each other. This is true from nation to nation, tribe to tribe, ethnic group to ethnic group. This relation we have to one another is not subject to a history of manipulation, coercion, or deal-making. The divine rights of men, women, and children can’t be trampled on. They are above person, party, ideology, creed, or dogma. And knowing this is a help to those who support democratic ideals.

This conviction of our God-given rights starts in our own hearts; and as we know and practice them in our own dealings with others, we chip away at whatever would hide the Truth that is Christ from others, anywhere, reaching for their freedom.

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“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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