(August 18, 2014)
It is hard to envision that the destruction of
came because of the wickedness of one man (Manasseh), and I find it unlikely. It is clear that the narrator believes that to
be true, but one benefit of our understanding that the scriptures are inspired
but not inerrant is that we can understand that the judgments of God are not
placed upon others for our sins, nor are we punished for the sins of others.
Yes, there will be suffering in our lives for the mistakes of others. I have both been the victim of such suffering and the cause of it in others. But we also know that there is a purpose for suffering and for pain, and that purpose is our spiritual growth. Reading the fall of Jerusalem as it is written, it is clear that there is a certain desire to say that everything is Manasseh’s fault, and that there is an effort underway to explain the pain and loss and failure that doesn’t likewise include self-examination. Having been in significant pain, I understand the natural human response to blame that pain on others rather that deal with it.
But when we do that, we lose out on the benefit of the pain. If we are even at part responsible for our pain, then by shifting that blame on to others we lose the impetus to repent and to change. If we are not even at all responsible, blaming others still results in us failing to focus on what the pain can teach us (even if nothing more than teaching us to learn to endure to the end). Pain is a harsh teacher, but since pain comes upon each of us in full measure, I would rather learn the lessons pain teaches then to blame others for the pain and gain no benefit from the pain I experience.