Contagion and the blame factor

When something bad happens to someone else and you think you're even partly to blame, you can feel awful. You want to do something to erase the effects for that person and for you. But the feeling "It's my fault" may have you stymied. In an effort to be free of that feeling, you might be tempted to pass the blame along to somebody or something else.

A few years ago when one of our children became ill while she was away from home visiting relatives, I began to get mired in this process of blaming and feeling I was to blame. As I prayed for the child, however, it dawned on me that what I was facing was a kind of mental contagion—a belief that people can pass injury, ill will, or irresponsibility, as well as disease, from one individual to another. I saw that I had been blaming myself for having let this child and her sister go away on the visit at all. I had been blaming family members for not being more active in their prayers to comfort the child. And I had been blaming myself in mistakenly reasoning that I must not be a good enough Christian Scientist since the healing had not occurred immediately.

No sickness allowed
May 8, 1995

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