The greatest nation on earth, not in might or wealth or size, but in the caliber of its national soul, is the one that most earnestly governs its people with the same four vital qualities of its great leaders. These four qualities, as mentioned in my message, ‘Becoming a Leader Who Is Great in the Sight of Man and God’, are: faithfulness, mercy, compassion, humility.
A nation, represented by the government and its leaders that rule the country, is, above all else, faithful to its citizens in any situation, inside the country, or outside.
The degree of faithfulness is seen in the extent of its citizens’ sense of personal freedom and their sense of security in society. This, I know, may seem like a platitude, since every government claims its aim is to provide its citizens with a sense of security and personal freedom. But a greater nation is recognized by a greater sense of wellbeing in its citizens.
I have seen the common citizen walking around in repressed fear and a sense of general helplessness in one country, while the average citizen in a neighboring country goes to work with a stride that bespeaks his confidence and pride in what his nation is doing for him.
A country’s responses to the needs of its citizens traveling or working abroad, is one of the surest indicators of the faithfulness of a nation to its people beyond its borders. A great nation takes great care of its children abroad. But what a blemish on a nation’s character when its representative – its embassy – in another country takes a slow or lackadaisical response to its citizens who are in trouble there.
I do not wish to embarrass any nation’s leaders or people by giving the many instances where embassy officials, who represent their nation, showed indifference towards the needs of their fellow citizens in a foreign country. Every embassy official should take the utmost care in guarding his motherland’s reputation by guarding his individual dealings with the expatriates of his country.
A nation is great also by the extent of the mercy it shows to its erring citizens. Nowhere is its mercy more revealed than in its prison system. My messages, ‘Show Mercy to Those You Are Keeping Behind Iron Bars’ and ‘Punish the Guilty But Not Their Families Too’, takes a heart look into this aspect of a nation’s character.
The next two criterions to judge a nation’s greatness is how compassionate and how humble are the hearts of its leaders. It is the compassion and humility of leaders such as Gandhi and Lincoln that roused the hearts of an entire nation and changed the course of their people’s destiny towards a greater future. My forthcoming messages will delve deep into these two vital aspects of personal and national greatness.
Where does your nation stand in your own evaluation of its greatness? The evaluation criterions I have given in this message is based on principles of individual and collective greatness revealed in a book of practical wisdom given by the Creator so nations and individuals can find true greatness. The nation and its leaders that govern by these principles will reap the joyous fruits, but the nation and its leaders that ignore them will surely suffer the bitter consequences, generation after generation
‘He makes nations great and then destroys them; he makes nations large and then scatters them. He takes understanding away from the leaders of the earth [who disdain God’s laws] and makes them wander through a pathless desert. They feel around in darkness with no light; he makes them stumble like drunks.’1
Greatest is the nation that acknowledges its Creator and heeds his laws in all aspects of its governance!
‘That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as pillars, sculptured in palace style; that our barns may be full, supplying all kinds of produce; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; that our oxen may be well laden; that there be no breaking in or going out; that there be no outcry in our streets. Happy are the people who are in such a state’2
1 Job 12:23-25
2 Psalm 144:12-15