Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Eyes Enlightened by Growing Love


This is either writer George MacDonald, or one of the cast members of Duck Dynasty


A reader sends along this thoughtful reflection on some of my recent posts ...

I've been really appreciating the thread running through a lot of your recent posts on reality / unreality, and your most recent one served as a wonderful external confirmation of something God has been pointing out to me. Many of our problems (all?) stem from the fact that we are unwilling / unable to really love--love requiring us to immerse ourselves in the mess of other people's lives, just as the Son of God entered into the mess of our world and became flesh.

Those of us who are devout can easily mistake intellectual propositions which are true for Him who is Truth itself. When Jesus says, "the truth will set you free", it does not mean that we can recite statements of truth at people as if they are magical incantations. If we want them to know the God who is Love, then we have to love them just as Christ loved us when we were unworthy.

I am reminded of a passage I read recently in George MacDonald's short story "Stephen Archer":

[Sara] learned rapidly. The lesson-book was of course the New Testament; and Stephen soon discovered that Sara's questions, moving his pity at firs because of the ignorance they displayed, always left him thinking about some point that had never occurred to him before; so that at length he regarded Sara as a being of superior intelligence waylaid and obstructed by unfriendly powers upon her path towards the threshold of the kingdom, while she looked up to him as to one supreme in knowledge as in goodness. But she never could understand the pastor [of the church they attended]. This would have been a great trouble to Stephen, had not his vanity been flattered by her understanding of himself. He did not consider that growing love had enlightened his eyes to see into her heart, and enabled him thus to use an ordinary human language for the embodiment of common-sense ideas; whereas the speech of the pastor contained such an admixture of technicalities as to be unintelligible to the neophyte. [emphasis mine]

I just love that line: "growing love had enlightened his eyes to see into her heart". The problem, of course, being that growing love will inevitably take you to the cross in some fashion, and we don't want that, do we! Much easier to merely implement an evangelization program so we can wash our hands clean of the whole affair with nothing troubling our consciences. . .

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