Tag Archives: C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis on Death

This seems like a supremely appropriate quote for Good Friday:

“On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more.
On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.”

– C.S. Lewis, Miracles

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C. S. Lewis on Jesus’ Knowledge of Temptation

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness–they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means–the only complete realist.”

C.S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis on the importance of Christianity

Christianity
if false is of no importance
and if true is of infinite importance
but it can’t be moderately important.

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis on Real Forgiveness

Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it.

C. S. Lewis, Essay on Forgiveness, (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1960).

Termites

A lit­tle while ago, Con­nie and I noticed some stuff that looked like dirt or dust appear­ing on a wall near our refrig­er­a­tor. I assumed it was some pot­ted soil that had fallen out of a hang­ing plant we have above that spot, so I vac­u­umed it up and didn’t give it a sec­ond thought. But then it showed up again the next time I was vac­u­um­ing. The next time, Con­nie was vac­u­um­ing and saw what looked like a white ant. I had seen “white ants” grow­ing up in the woods of Ten­nessee. I sud­denly real­ized we had termites!

Before I knew it, our won­der­ful land­lord had called a pest con­trol spe­cial­ist and he was in our house tak­ing care of busi­ness. He drilled some holes in the con­crete foun­da­tion of our duplex and injected a chem­i­cal that spreads through­out the ter­mite colony and kills them a day or two after they come into con­tact with it.

But here’s the thing, I learned a lot about ter­mites and I think I’ve found the per­fect anal­ogy for what is arguably the worst sin:  pride. C. S. Lewis said of pride, “It was through Pride that the Devil became the Devil; it is the com­plete anti-God state of mind. Pride is essen­tially com­pet­i­tive in a way the other vices are not. Pride is a spir­i­tual can­cer. It is my beset­ting sin.”

One thing I learned about ter­mites is that they are capa­ble of enter­ing your prop­erty through a 1/64 inch hole. How big of a hole is that? It’s about as big as the period at the end of this sen­tence. Pride has the same abil­ity to infil­trate my life through tiny, tiny holes. In fact, I can become proud of spir­i­tual progress! For exam­ple, ear­lier this year a friend of mine both prayed that God would bring us closer to Him no mat­ter what. A few days later we both found out we prayed that prayer on the same day! We were both super encouraged, but after a few weeks we started to talk judg­men­tally about other Chris­tians who “weren’t as devoted” as we were. Before we real­ized it, we had become proud of our devo­tion to God! Pride is incred­i­bly sneaky and will infil­trate your heart in ways you can’t imagine.

Another thing I learned is that ter­mites are often called “silent destroy­ers” because they can be active in your home for years before you see any notice­able signs. Sound famil­iar? Pride is dif­fer­ent from many other sins because it doesn’t man­i­fest itself phys­i­cally. Sex­ual sin, glut­tony, addictions, drunkenness, anger, and a host of other sins can man­i­fest them­selves phys­i­cally. But we can look per­fect on the out­side but be dead inter­nally because of pride (for exam­ple, see Matthew 23:25–28). It may take years for our pride to actu­ally show, and by then it could have already done exten­sive dam­age to our heart, our soul, and all our relationships.

The final fact I’ll share is that ter­mites are very dif­fi­cult to get rid of per­ma­nently. As a mat­ter of fact, in many cases you can never be sure that ter­mites have been fully erad­i­cated and it’s impos­si­ble to guar­an­tee that they’ll never come back. This is why C. S. Lewis referred to pride as his “beset­ting sin,” because it can be nearly impos­si­ble to erad­i­cate fully. When he said “beset­ting sin,” he was refer­ring to Hebrews 12:1in the King James Ver­sion, which chal­lenges Chris­tians to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so eas­ily beset us.” Mod­ern trans­la­tions will say refer to a beset­ting sin as “the sin that so eas­ily entan­gles” or the “sin which clings so closely.” The point is sim­ply that there are cer­tain sins that we will strug­gle with until the day we die. For some, their beset­ting sin is lust, for oth­ers greed, and for C. S. Lewis and many oth­ers it is pride. Iron­i­cally enough, I think we are all plagued with at least one “beset­ting sin” to keep us from becom­ing prideful!

So the next time you won­der why God cre­ated ter­mites, real­ize that God in His infi­nite wis­dom cre­ated them for a pur­pose. I believe He cre­ated them to give us a pic­ture of what pride does to our souls.

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