Have you ever heard these sayings? “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people” and “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”? And what about “Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it, one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”
Do you know who wrote these famous words? Well, they all come from one of the most revered and influential women in the twentieth century. And despite some difficult circumstances in her childhood, she married Franklin Roosevelt in 1905. He was the president of the USA from 1933 to his death in 1945. Thus, making Eleanor Roosevelt the longest serving first lady of the USA.
After WWII, as the Cold War super-powers were lining up against each other, tensions were brewing over Cuba, and as the Palestinian issue was taking shape, one lone woman was asked by then President of the United States, Harry Truman, to achieve the impossible.
But she did more than that. She changed the world forever. And she did it in a most unassuming way. And so, you probably don’t know much about her.
In 1945, an intergovernmental organisation, the United Nations, was established to maintain international peace and security, to help the underprivileged in the world, to develop friendly relations among nations and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms.
And so, on the 10 December 1948, the 58 member countries of the United Nations agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This was a milestone moment in the history of the world. This document set out, for the first time, the fundamental human rights that are to be universally protected.
Article 1 starts with the words: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and human rights.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets out a vision of a world of freedom and dignity for every person. There never was, nor has there been since, a global agreement as positive and far-reaching as this.
But what most people don’t know is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was based on Christian principles. That’s because the chief architect of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was a deeply committed Christian who based her life on the principles of the Bible.
And not only that, but she was a woman, who, in a man’s world, wielded influence and power with grace and dignity on the international stage. Her name? Eleanor Roosevelt.
She is a wonderful example of what Jesus said, Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. This is one of the Beatitudes spoken by Jesus. They are some of the most powerful and influential words ever spoken. Not only have they changed the world, but they can change your life as well.
You can find them in the Bible, Matthew chapter 5.