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.”
As we turn in humble prayer to God, we hear His tender Christly assurances.
There is a certain human reasonableness to the assumption that if we can simply get to the bottom of a challenge—mentally, psychologically—then we can effectively rout it. But what if, at this juncture, a loving, spiritually perceptive friend were to assure you that you are actually the cherished offspring of your Father-Mother God, His spiritual likeness, without a single quality deviating from your divine origin; therefore, you cannot possibly be the source of the problem. You might be surprised, even incredulous!
As it turns out, this is exactly what God’s gentle, healing Christ is saying to each of us. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science and author of its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, writes of the eternal Christ that it is “the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.” She goes on to explain: “The Christ is incorporeal, spiritual,—yea, the divine image and likeness, dispelling the illusions of the senses; the Way, the Truth, and the Life, healing the sick and casting out evils, destroying sin, disease, and death” (p. 332).
When we turn in humble prayer to God, we hear His tender Christly assurances, and they run utterly counter to mortal mind’s harsh assertions. They’re along the lines of “You are My loved child, made in My image and showing forth My character and substance. As the expression of My being, you are by nature innocent. You are not now, nor have you ever been, complicit in bringing about some difficult experience. You have never gone along with, or allowed into consciousness, a false, material belief about yourself.”
Although basically another way of saying, “You are innocent,” the divine message “You are not complicit” indicates something quite specific: that a personal human mentality, with its familiar array of weaknesses, faults, and vulnerabilities, is not our actual mind. The Bible goes right to the scientific fact, declaring that we have “the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16), which is God Himself. We are endowed by this Mind with intelligent, right thinking; we are productively engaged by this Mind as the full radiant expression of its own unfolding capacities.
To affirm prayerfully that God is our Mind and that, in reality, we are not and never have been complicit in bringing on some challenge is to disassociate from a so-called mortal mentality with its utterly inaccurate reasoning about cause and effect. Then we are able to see that the “enemy”—that which truly deserves our denunciation—is mortal mind, not us at all!
The Christ-message of man’s spiritual innocence was brought fully to light by the Master, Christ Jesus, who illustrated the profoundly practical implications of this truth by healing both disease and sin. His every thought was imbued with the acknowledgment of man as the spiritual image of God. Consequently, he didn’t go down the path of personal blame. When asked by his disciples, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” he declined to be drawn into any line of human reasoning. He resorted in prayer to the spiritual truth of the individual as the Father was revealing it to him, and the man was healed, right then (see John 9:1–7).
Just so, this loving Christ is our advocate. It saves us from endless rounds of self-blame. As we consent to Christ’s saving power, it cuts clean across mortal mind’s dark impressions of sin and shows us our spiritual selfhood, in unbroken relation to the Father. It silences “the accuser,” as the book of Revelation (12:10) so aptly terms this fault-focused mentality. A beautiful hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal reminds us, “From th’ accuser’s mocking voices / Christ, our mighty Counsel, saves us” (Maria Louise Baum, No. 112).
Anyone who has experienced Christ-healing has borne witness to his or her innocence as a child of God. Whether one was healed of illness, lack, or wrongdoing, he or she has disavowed, to a significant extent, the carnal mind and has experienced something of the one true Mind, which is God.
The loving Christ is our advocate. It saves us from endless rounds of self-blame.
The fact of my own inherent innocence came as a healing message recently when I was reaching out in prayer to divine Love. I was contending with flu symptoms and wondered if I would be able to teach Sunday School that Sunday or continue speaking normally by phone for my work. Then late Saturday evening, when I was praying about the situation, the thought came, “You are not complicit in this problem.” I felt this was the dear Christ moving on my consciousness. It had the effect of silencing a false estimate of myself as a mortal entertaining the belief of disease, and of freeing me to accept more fully the already established fact of my well-being as a child of God.
Spiritual assurances continued: “You are not a participant in this false belief; you never let it in, mentally. You are God’s child, His loved expression, and so are held in perfect relationship to Him. You have not thought or done anything to bring on this challenge.”
I fell asleep and woke in the morning with the same profound truths echoing in thought. Later, I taught Sunday School with complete freedom. There was no hint of illness, and I felt full of gratitude to God for the precise inspiration that had come the night before and brought healing.
The spiritually scientific fact is that we do not have a mind apart from God to accuse or be accused. Neither mortal mind nor its tendency toward self-incrimination originates in us; nor do they, scientifically speaking, belong to us. The teachings of Christian Science make clear the need we all have for ongoing, prayer-impelled self-examination—to determine if our motives, outlook, affections, and desires are pure and aligned with divine Love. But we’re instructed to avoid the guilt-laden self-analysis that would grip thought and keep us focused on the problem.
If we’ve not been entirely faithful of late in praying about concerns as they arise, or if we’ve conceded in ways to matter-based thinking, or if we’ve not been adhering to the Christian standard of right, certainly honesty compels us to admit this in the solitude of prayer. As we are open and responsive, the truth of our native, God-derived innocence washes over us like baptismal waters. We experience something of divine Love’s largess, reaching us even if we feel undeserving of it, unfolding needed spiritual lessons, and impelling corrective steps and positive, healing change in our lives.
We may imagine that we’ll be better able to admit the fact of our spiritual innocence as a child of God after some difficulty is healed. But it is our prerogative and privilege to accept now this God-revealed truth, which heals.
In the case of Job, he consults one final friend, Elihu, who points out to him his need for full-hearted humility before God. The story seems to imply that Job, childlike, resigns himself to the Christ message of God’s utter supremacy, recognizing that this infinitely good God is more than capable of meeting his human need for healing. The account concludes with the full restoration to Job of his health, his family, and his livelihood.
The healing solution to whatever challenge we may be facing is to turn, completely and humbly, to God and to seek ever-deeper insight into His love and presence and power. As we resist the pull toward self-blame, we’ll hear the tender Christ confirming to us our true status as loved son, cherished daughter.
We are free now to accept the Christly assurance of our innocence and to declare, as Job once did, “My witness is in heaven, and my record is on high” (Job 16:19). We are free now to have healing.