Borrowed Problems

In the Christian Science Sentinel under date of November 12, 1904, are these words by Mrs. Eddy: "Good deeds overdone numerically, or bad deeds, are remedied by reading the Manual." To at least one student of Christian Science this statement appeared almost startling. The reading of the Manual for the rectifying of bad deeds was easily understood, but how good deeds could ever be overdone, or in need of correction, was not so obvious.

The word "numerically" means "in point of number." "Good deeds overdone numerically," then, must mean good deeds overdone in point of number; in other words, good deeds done and done and overdone, until perhaps the confused recipient seems almost to lose his power to act by having everything taken out of his hands through another's false sense of responsibility. There seems to be such a thing as doing too much for people, doing too much for the same ones, smothering them with kindness, doing their growing for them, making their demonstrations for them so that they will be saved the effort. It is a well-known fact in nature that if a butterfly is assisted by human hands to emerge from his outgrown cocoon, his wings will be small and weak, and often injured. How often does misguided human love dwarf and stultify the spiritual progress of some dear one by blindly saving him from the very experience which would make him grow!

We sometimes hear it said, rather sadly: "My problem is not working out. I have been struggling with it for so long; but try as I may, it does not seem to move." Then there is something radically wrong with us, for God's work is done, and the demonstration of this should go forward properly and in a divinely natural manner. The Word of Truth is just as efficacious and powerful to-day as it was twenty centuries ago, when our Master walked the shores of Galilee and overcame all forms of error with the quiet "Peace, be still" of his understanding of God. Perhaps the thing which needs to be done in some cases is to see that this problem which does not seem to work out was never ours. Many a self-constituted martyr goes staggering along life's highway under a burden far too heavy for him to bear, so mesmerized that it never once occurs to him that he need not keep on doing so; while all the time the one to whom the burden really belongs trips lightly beside him, so mesmerized, in turn, that he is entirely undisturbed by his own responsibility in the situation.

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July 5, 1924

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