Spiritual Contentment Heals

Satisfied, free from discomfort and worry, serene and, if old enough, smiling—we're glad and grateful if our babies are so contented. If they are, we enjoy a peaceful home, and we may feel that contentment is a virtue we want to develop more than most others in ourselves and our offspring.

Yet as our children mature, if we see in them an attitude of perpetual contentment, it can be a matter of concern to us. We may detect in it a state of human thought that is limited, unprogressive, satisfied with mediocrity. We may look upon contentment more as dangerous complacency—a protective air bubble—than as a commendable trait to be cherished.

In adults, contentment, if it is not based on spiritual understanding, can indicate conservatism, conventionality, unwillingness to accept progressive ideas, resignation to the state of being and putting up with second best. While there is obvious merit in making the most of what we have, there is biblical authority for condemning the false contentment that has its roots in soil no deeper than the human mind. With spiritual authority the prophet Jeremiah reproached the leaders and priests in Israel. They were misleading the people into complacency by excusing their unredeemed sins and shortcomings, saying, "Peace, peace; when there is no peace." Jer. 6:14; He tried to bring home to the inhabitants of Jerusalem the fact that to be placidly content, saying all is well when it is not well, is foolish and even wicked. It can harm instead of heal.

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January 31, 1976

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