Monday, October 24, 2011

Giving, Taking, Life and Death

C.S. Lewis
The other night I was at my aunt and uncle's home for dinner, and we got on the subject of C.S. Lewis, since they had just gone to a discussion on him & his works.  I was quite infected by the conversation, as it brought a twist of new light to a common idea...That idea being Jesus' instruction, "Give, and you shall receive."

Lewis, via scholarly experts via aunt and uncle, suggests that Giving brings life, and Taking brings death.  The definition of "death" being something along the lines of "I am Me" (referenced aunt and uncle, correct me if I'm getting something wrong!)--inferring: a focus on oneself leads to debilitating selfishness and eventual self-destruction.  We were not created to be inward-dwelling creatures.  Evidence for this fact abounds.  But when we Give, we create goodwill and lovingkindness and bonds of friendship, and a host of other wonderful, godly virtues.  When we Take, or even merely focus on ourselves instead of others, we bring sadness, destroy relationships, damage feelings and step on beautiful, made-in-God's-image souls.

I've been thinking about this idea since the conversation we had, and it really does seem true: Every act of death, be it as small as a harsh response to an innocent child or as large as a terrible war, it all is based in selfishness:

"I am tired.  Therefore, I have the right to treat my children (husband, or whoever) harshly."  And I steal their joy and sense of security.
"I am poor and overly busy.  Therefore, I am not obligated to help others in need--they should help me!"  And I miss out on a life-changing opportunity to bless someone and in turn be blessed...for those who give, receive...blessings from heaven, packed down, and overflowing.
"I want to feel important and special.  Therefore, I will destroy that person's reputation and self-esteem."  And I kill those who could be friends, from the inside out, attacking their very being. 

(P.S. This blog entry, pardoning the poor word choices in parts, I thought was really great--refreshingly pointed, it put me in my place!)

We are focused only on our own needs and wants, so that they become so huge that they consume us, and lead us to disregard or be incapable of considering another's needs, and we become voracious, ruthless vehicles of death...often without even realizing it.  Our Wants, and even more deadly so our Needs, can become dangerous weapons, wielded at the hand of selfish introspection.

It goes the same even when the victim of death is our own selves, at our own hand.  Why do we feel insecure and beat ourselves over petty things?  We get so selfishly concerned about Me and how I am viewed by society (or whatever your vice is) that we bring death upon ourselves each time we don't measure up.  It is still selfishness, if you are bringing death upon yourself.

"...For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  The rest of that verse, as quoted above (Luke 6.38).  Scary.  Convicting.

It makes sense.  Why do you think it feels so good to give?  Like it sparks some deeply buried fire of passion, the kind of passion we feel when we do what we know we're created to do.  We are, after all, made in the image of our Creator, and our Creator Gives...He gives Life, He gives Forgiveness, He gives Grace, He gives Everything we Need...He gives his only Son, so that whoever might believe in Him would not perish, but would have eternal life. 


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  2. Thank you, Angela.
    This is a wonderful post and wonderful reminder.

    How are you? Have you settled in a bit better?
    Are you in the area sometime? I would love to find a way to see you.
    Let me know.