Discipline of Love

For centuries men have believed that sickness, suffering, sorrow, and even temptation are ordained of God, or at best are allowed by Him, for the education or the disciplining of the children whom He has created, who, as we have been taught, are so frail and faulty that they are in sore need of training. Thus mortals have shifted the burden of responsibility for their mistakes, misfortunes, and misdeeds from their own shoulders, and shirked work and self-correction by accepting the superstition that God is the source of all their woes and that these are, therefore, natural. In excuse for their failings they have, like Adam, argued that they are not responsible for their delinquencies. They say: "The weather that God sends makes us ill." "The bodies which God has provided get out of order." "The tastes and the dispositions with which we are endowed bring us into trouble." Then they have sung fervently, "I lay my sins on Jesus," hoping that because of this substitution, God will mercifully overlook their shortcomings; in other words, that perfection will be satisfied with imperfection.

Yet when we realize that most of the disease and heartache in the world is the result of wrongdoing or careless action of somebody somewhere, we can hardly lay the blame of this sin or discord at the door of infinite righteousness and Love; and no matter how ardently we may wish to escape the consequences of our failures or our iniquities, they are bound to bear fruit in some way. Now James has written: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." If God's gifts, then, are sometimes good, they are always good. The Father of lights cannot change and become the source of darkness. Again James tells us: "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." There have been thinkers here and there in the history of mankind who have raised their voices in protest against the teaching that God is the author of evil and unhappiness; but it was not until Christian Science dawned upon humanity through the enlightened thought of Mrs. Eddy that any serious attention was paid to this denial. Now the thought is echoed by one or another from the pulpit or through the press, that in time of affliction, instead of submitting blindly to what they have held as of divine decree, men should look to God for the cheer, inspiration, and help which will lift them out of their tribulation.

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