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True Leadership

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

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This newspaper's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, stated, "The true leader of a true cause is the unacknowledged servant of mankind" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 266). The example of leadership set by Christ Jesus is still worth striving for today. When his disciples were quarreling as to which of them was the greatest, he explained, "I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). Earlier he had made a similar remark: "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant" (Matthew 20:27). Whether you are a Christian or not, these words of Jesus are meaningful.

Far from demonstrating materialistic power, Jesus proved that true leadership comes from obeying God. He demanded not only outwardly moral actions, but an inner purity of thought and motive. This approach challenged the ancient law of retaliation. Although "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" represented significant moral reform over conventional tribal practices -- whereby punishment for offenses may have exceeded the crimes committed -- Jesus forbade vindictiveness. One was to petition neither for fire to come down and consume those who had erred (see Luke 9:51-56), nor for physical force to be used intentionally to maim an enemy (see Matthew 26:51-52 and Luke 22:49-51). Jesus came to save, not to destroy.

It is not out of anger that criminals should be punished, for this would actually further terrorism. The need for penalties arises from moral demands, which maintain that men and women must be redeemed from sin, and that human justice must reflect divine justice. Jesus' model of leadership requires actual spiritual power -- power from God -- to overcome physical force and immorality in its different forms. Through God's power alone, men and women find the courage to be humble and the humility to be courageous. Humility involves listening to God and fearlessly obeying the guidance we receive from Him.

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