Shifting Responsibility

Ofttimes a seeker for a better human outlook finds himself face to face with a problem seemingly impossible of solution. He has summoned to action that pitiless weapon, will power, only to find himself crying the louder to be released from some long suffered ill; he has tried to choose rightly and then to force through his ideas, only to find that every one with whom he associates disagrees with him or has some idea that conflicts. At last the seeker calls on every humanly known force to help him succeed, in spite of ill health, contention, and strife, but battle-scarred and weary of the conflict he tightens the fetters of bondage by recourse to self-pity and self-justification. "Ah," he pleads, "how can I succeed when all about me are men and women doing their work incorrectly? I want to be cheerful, but I am sick; I want to love, but every one hates me; I want to study Christian Science, but how can I when my misery keeps my thought constantly recurring to my body and away from the text."

Hark, the clarion voice of a woman calling to the ages, and the sufferers are hearing her words, sometimes with resentment, when she explains that disease is not material, that it is mental. But the human mind cries back its justification, "I have put up a good fight; I see the path plainly enough; my mind is clear if only I were well and were not hemmed in on every side by opposition, poverty, and hatred." We hear the voice again drowning the wail of mortal argument, "Ah! but Christ, Truth, the spirit of Life and the friend of Mortal Man, can open wide those prison doors and set the captive free" (Science and Health, p. 433).

Mortal mind, cunning in its own defense, claiming some knowledge of what scholastic theology denominates the Christ, argues that it has known of the doctrine since infancy, has always believed in God, has never actually sinned—unless hating one's associates and ill fate might indeed be called sin; but how can one be blamed for hating, when others hate? So mortal mind is seen shifting, ever shifting, the responsibility,—others are to blame because we are sick or poor, unhappy or sinful; yet quite dissatisfied with this reasoning one hears as a trumpet call the question of the master Physician, "Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?"

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Household Problems
July 20, 1918

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.