The Proper Confidant

Mankind has always felt the need of a proper and satisfactory confidant, one to whom its blackest griefs and its tenderest joys might be related or confided. This proper confidant was supposed to meet the confidence with interest and with sympathy, if not with understanding and a correct solution of the problems presented. The human confidant has, however, proved to be inadequate and unsatisfactory. In the first place, it is difficult to find any one who desires to listen for long to some one else's troubles. He usually feels that it is an imposition for him to have to spend his time listening to the troubles of another, when he already has sufficient of his own for the day. A definition of egotist has been given as "one who wishes to be talking about himself, when you wish to be talking about yourself." He who thinks at all, soon begins to see not only that it is difficult to find a proper listener, but that it is not particularly safe. Should he intrust his deepest or darkest secret to his best friend, his friend in the course of time may forget that it was a secret at all; and then it becomes a matter of gossip instead of a deep secret.

To the one who undertakes the study of Christian Science, it very soon becomes apparent that the habit of the telling of evil to some one is not merely futile, unsatisfactory, and unsafe, but actually harmful. Christian Science teaches the unreality of all discord. Consequently, if he goes about talking of discord, he simply makes it harder for himself to see its unreality. He perceives that it is worse than useless to talk of his troubles to any one at all, unless he turns to some one who can assist him in getting rid of the belief in them. He finds that if he needs a practical confidant he may find such a one in a Christian Science practitioner. The practitioner persistently refuses to accept these troubles as facts or realities of being, and they at once begin to disappear. The practitioner is not interested in troubles, as such, and gets them out of the way as expeditiously as possible. He is not a practitioner because he enjoys hearing of woe, but because he knows the reality of the joy of perfect divine Life. He has no desire to run and tell these troubles to some one else. Even if he ever should have this wrong desire, the Manual of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, insists on his being at all points a safe confidant. In Article VIII, Section 22, of the Church Manual Mrs. Eddy makes the following very definite provision for the protection of those who intrust their confidences to Christian Science practitioners: "Members of this Church shall hold in sacred confidence all private communications made to them by their patients; also such information as may come to them by reason of their relation of practitioner to patient. A failure to do this shall subject the offender to Church discipline."

In Exodus we read: "And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." The patient seeking help from the Christian Science practitioner feels a doubt of his own ability to approach God. He believes that the practitioner is free of this doubt, and that he can help him to an understanding of the truth. To the patient there seems to be "thick darkness" where God actually is. On page 558 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy says, "To mortal sense Science seems at first obscure, abstract, and dark; but a bright promise crowns its brow."

"Be still, and know"
November 10, 1923

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