Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Freedom to Change Course

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Freedom to Change Course

Article excerpt

Is it OK to change your course completely, when you have been strongly committed to an opposite one? It used to be jokingly said that it was a woman's prerogative to change her mind.

Many years ago I said yes to a proposal of marriage. My parents were mightily impressed with this young man and I was at least momentarily dazzled by the prospect of marriage. Then, more sober reflection and specific events began to put that commitment on shaky ground. It was becoming clear to me that we really weren't meant for each other. But how was I going to tell my parents? My friends? The fellow himself?

I struggled immensely over this and even considered marrying him anyway since, after all, I had enthusiastically and publicly said I would. Fortunately, for both of us, wisdom prevailed when one friend who knew of my struggle quietly but firmly said to me, "If you marry that man, I won't come to your wedding." That broke the stranglehold I'd found myself in. The engagement was ended peacefully. My parents and friends were all fine. I have no doubt the young man was fine, too. I wasn't just having "cold feet." As events unfolded, it was clear that the wisdom that comes from God, from right thinking and right acting, led to a complete reversal of the decision and, in turn, to the best course of action for all involved.

But what if you're the leader of a nation, whether a man or a woman? Must you stick to a course simply because you've publicly proclaimed or privately determined a certain course of action? The public can hold a leader's feet to the fire by criticizing even the slightest move away from statements that leader has made about a course of action.

A classic article on Christian Science titled "God's Law of Adjustment," by Adam H. Dickey, talks about how Christian Scientists are sometimes accused of being changeable. It occurred to me that what the writer was saying about Christian Scientists could be applied to any leader of any nation in the world. …

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