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‘You are not complicit’

From the July 2015 issue of The Christian Science Journal

If there is one point that becomes apparent from reading the Old Testament book of Job, it is that chronic analysis of some problem and the self-blame that tends to accompany it are ultimately futile. They don’t contribute to progress or healing.

Job is a man facing severe challenges, and he consults various friends for advice. The better part of the book is given to arguments, made by these friends, who try to convince him that he alone is responsible for the illnesses and tragedies that have recently befallen him. Some personal weakness or moral failing or lack of devotion on his part has most assuredly brought Job to a point of multiple trials, the friends concur.

The story may hold deeper meaning for us if we consider these “friends” to be allegorical—that is, a type of literary symbolism for what the human, mortal mind asserts at times in the privacy of one’s own thoughts. Who of us has not, for example, when faced with some difficulty, had arguments come to thought that essentially implicate us as the cause of the problem! The denigrating suggestions may run something like this: “At some point, I must have done something wrong; otherwise, I wouldn’t be having this challenge.” Or, “If only I had followed through on that initial intuition, had taken the action I felt led to take, I wouldn’t be in this mess!” Or, “I haven’t been very faithful lately in praying for myself; no doubt I allowed ungodlike thoughts into my consciousness, and consequently they are now evident in my experience.”

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