A Christian Science perspective: How can presidential candidates best display credible and trustworthy character traits?
In the United States, presidential candidates have once again officially announced their run for office. While it’s been known for a while that a true presidential campaign never really ceases, even during years of non-election, the question has risen this year concerning the credibility of candidates who have been running for election all along and then announce their official “start” date. While there are legal requirements for an official start date, The Christian Science Monitor pointed out the real concern: “The gap between formal statements and informal realities perhaps strains credibility with citizens” (see “Marco and Hillary jump in. Do presidential campaign announcements matter anymore?,” CSMonitor.com).
Credibility, the quality of being trustworthy, is necessary if we are to be believed. Honesty and sincerity are core elements of character that strengthen society. They bring transparency to governments and point out the path of freedom for all.
Being trustworthy is one of the many ways we can express good – which, in Christian Science, is synonymous with God. Our desire to express ourselves in a holy and upright manner is an important element of prayer. Yearning to find ways to bless all mankind – to truly seek solutions to problems that encompass each individual in society – is prayer in itself. Good and selfless motives, when backed up with prayerful receptivity to God’s guidance, enable us to hear God’s unerring and unbiased direction and be led to do what’s right.
Listening for God’s pure motives – and following His guidance – is possible for each one of us, because we all have our origin in God. We may hear inspiring ideas from God in quiet prayerful moments or as a gentle mental intuition to go in a certain direction. Obedience to His guidance naturally enables us to be genuine and sincere as we seek to be worthy of the trust of others.
To be worthy of others’ trust, we prayerfully must learn that our true nature, as God’s children, is honest and upright. It is reliable. This means, then, that our words must be expressed in our works.
Jesus certainly gave his teachings credibility in the demonstration of what he taught. During the long day leading to his crucifixion he took time to instruct his disciples, “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:11). Here Jesus says that we really can believe his teachings concerning his relationship to God, but if we don’t, if there is any doubt, then look to his works – his healing works.
To make our words credible, they must be followed up by works. And if we find, not uncommonly, that we don’t keep our words and our works on equal footing, then God will help us do so. Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, explains, “If our words fail to express our deeds, God will redeem that weakness, and out of the mouth of babes He will perfect praise” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 354).
God redeems any weakness we may seem to have that leads to dishonesty, incredibility, or lack of trustworthiness. He does this by lifting our thought to the reality of who we truly are – His spiritual image and likeness, wholly good and pure. In this way He destroys false, ungodly elements of thought with His power of truth and love. Then, our purified thoughts naturally pass into words, and words into works, and credibility is seen and felt. Empty and vacant promises are dissolved or revealed for what they are as we turn to God and learn more of our Godlike nature, and live it.
What would have been thought of Christ Jesus if he never healed the sick or raised the dead? True credibility that is reflected from God, divine Love, sheds its care and concern on others, and helps lead individuals, societies, and governments into right motives. Genuine care for our brother, in all aspects of our life, leads to true freedom, because Godlike qualities of uprightness, integrity, morality, and strength are true power and gain. Expressing these qualities is certainly more satisfying than the seeming promise of personal gain that leads to corruption.
We all have innately within us the Christlike quality of credibility. It cannot forever remain hidden or obscured. It’s a God-given quality that requires full and complete expression. So, whether we’re a professional politician, a business owner, an employee, or a family member, it’s our natural, divine nature to be credible and trustworthy. And through sincere prayer and trust in God, our efforts to be credible will be successful, and they will permeate society with their healing influence – during the long campaign season and beyond.