Occasionally, I have stubbornly resisted doing or following…or even investigating a suggestion offered by someone whom I deeply respect. Such is the case with my husband’s recommendation that I read the works of C.S. Lewis.
Even though I long ago read The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters, since my husband and I married about 16 years ago, I’ve not been tempted by any other of the C.S. Lewis books hubby brought to our home. Lately, I’ve discovered that this was a mistake!
One of my husband’s books is a collection of “short-novel-length” works entitled The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics. In it is The Great Divorce, an allegory examining the idea that no evil of the smallest amount can exist in Heaven.
Recently, The Great Divorce was mentioned at church (in a sermon, maybe), and it piqued my interest.
“Well! If TWO people are talking about it, perhaps I should at least skim it. “
I’m a very fast reader, so, I DID try to skim it. Wrong.
Another mistake I made while reading The Great Divorce was to read a bit each night after I went to bed. I kept falling asleep, and the crazy dream of the narrator was making little sense to me. However, after several nights of rereads, I finally understood the message.
One of Lewis’ most interesting points in The Great Divorce is about the difference in the sizes of Heaven and Hell. The dreamer’s heavenly Teacher tells him that Hell and all of its evil is “smaller than one atom” of Heaven. Such a comment set my brain whirring.
I thought about all sorts of earthly applications, including the idea of “small-minded” people. (That comparison did not work out for me, btw.) Finally, I came to some conclusions…and I’m still thinking about it, which was probably the author’s intent for his readers.
Overall, Lewis believes that we cannot expect to get to Heaven with even the most miniscule remnant of evil within us.
Nonetheless, as Christians, we know that we are imperfect and sinful creatures.Therefore, we must have faith in and accept Christ as our Redeemer. He alone is capable of washing away all of our sinfulness.
HOWEVER, each of us is responsible for accepting Christ completely and letting Him direct our lives. In fact, Lewis talks about the essentiality of risking all we know and are comfortable with for the gift of Heaven.
Thus, if we are unwilling to accept Christ completely, perhaps our door to Heaven may be a bit more difficult to open than we have anticipated!
With this in mind, my next point to ponder is how I can improve my acceptance of Christ.
Plus, I may want to pay more attention to my husband’s reading suggestions!
Written by Becky
Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
Here Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for criticizing him for sitting with tax collectors and sinners and reminds the Pharisees that they, too, are sinners who may desire mercy at some time.
Recently my husband and I shopped at the mall for Christmas presents. It was quite a mass of humanity, and it would have been very easy to lose our tempers at the eager and sometimes thoughtless shoppers in the crowd. Instead, we had a great deal of fun when we bought two pretzels and sat for a while to eat and watch the shoppers rush by with their children in tow.
By removing ourselves from the fray, it was easier to see the people as individuals with individual problems and needs, rather than rude folks cutting in front of us at every turn.
During these last days of the shopping season, let us all remember that our fellow travelers, with their difficulties and schedules, deserve our mercy as much as we deserve Christ’s mercy because we all are sinners.
Written by Becky
“Jesus said to them, ‘My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.’”
The 12:12 Project is sponsored by Katy First United Methodist Church.