Charitableness in our politics
I WAS fed up...again! I had just heard of yet another incident that cast negative light on a particular candidate. Yes, the repeated reports did seem to exaggerate things. Yet there was no denying that the incident certainly did not speak well of this candidate, nor did his opponents' reactions speak well of them. At that point it seemed to me that not one of the individuals running for office measured up to the high standards the office demanded.
Then I thought of that Christian quality of charity. Hadn't I felt these candidates should be more charitable and gracious toward one another? Then, shouldn't I look upon this entire political campaign with generosity and charitableness toward all parties?
There is sound advice along this line in the New Testament. The Bible says: ``Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering....And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.''1
When thinking of what it takes to be charitable in our judgments, it's natural to think of love. The ``charity'' mentioned above must have its foundation in the spiritual love that comes from God. Otherwise it could just be human tolerance. There is something stronger than just tolerance in the charitableness that reflects God's love.
What is this stronger element? It is a spiritual view of God and man and of life itself. God creates and sustains existence. And what God created must express His nature. True existence, then, is spiritual and good; it's something infinitely more and better than the sensual view of life taken in by our eyes and ears. It can include nothing unlike God. Man, as the offspring of divine Love, is motivated and governed by Love. ``Christian Science reveals Truth and Love as the motive-powers of man,''2 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of this Science.
All of us express in some degree the spiritual ideal of man. Often, good motives govern the heart, even though the outward actions sometimes don't measure up. Sometimes, too, one's motives aren't what they should be at the start but are lifted up by the largeness of the responsibilities at hand.
It is God's nature to love His own offspring. Knowing that God is Love and that He constantly expresses His nature in man, isn't it possible for us to respond charitably toward a political figure we may not agree with?
Does such charity condone wrongdoing or thwart the realism necessary to make sound political choices? Not at all! On the contrary, true Christian charity -- as opposed to glossed-over optimism -- helps lay the foundation for making the best choice at election time.
Why? Perhaps it stems from Jesus' injunction that we be ``wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.''3 Doesn't it stand to reason that God, the source of that love from which real charity flows, is also the source of true wisdom and insight?
A charitable heart makes it easier to pray. And prayer can bring divine wisdom into focus as we choose for ourselves among candidates. Because prayer includes a wholehearted listening for God's direction, it can help silence the clamor of reaction and opinion (including our own!). Although this may take some doing, the results can go beyond just one particular election. Through our prayers we can help forward a wider recognition of God as the true power governing man.
1Colossians 3:12, 14. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 490. 3Matthew 10:16.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Charity...rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. I Corinthians 13:4,6