Friday, June 6, 2014

On My Nerves

When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face which are almost unendurably irritating to the other. -C.S. Lewis, "The Screwtape Letters"

I am a reasonable man.

Giving our nature to gloss over our own offenses and magnify those of others, I must begin by examining the truth of the preceding statement.

Actually I realize that I can be quite unreasonable, an annoying tendency stemming from another annoying tendency of mine to always want to be right which stems from the mother of annoying tendencies, which is my (unreasonably) competitive nature.

Which has as its root, I imagine, the cardinal sin of pride.

The devil loves wedges (he may love wedgies too, the spiritual kind I mean). Having separated man from God, he now wishes to separate us from one another; husbands from wives, parents from children, ministers from their congregations.

Each of us, if Satan had his way, would dwell in his own separate compartment, all alone and miserable with his own petty and vicious thoughts for his company.

Sound like anyone you know?

A pretty extreme picture, I admit, of someone who has gone as far as they can down the road of selfishness, bitterness and prideful anger.

Also an accurate description of hell, do you think?

Lewis was a very astute observer of the human heart and understood the power of the Holy Spirit to change that cold unfeeling heart to one full of love, first for Christ, then for one's fellow creatures.

"For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20b)"

So yeah, there are things about you that make me want to pinch your  head off. And I understand completely that at times you want to slap me so hard that I would burst into flame.

The thing is, yall, God has placed us together. We will no doubt be irritated as our swollen egos bang up against each other. And we will be tempted to sin by being angry at one another.

But we are called to love and forgive, to overlook offenses. That is the hardest thing to do. Harder than Chinese arithmetic.

But it's how we grow, right?

Or as my wife has so helpfully put it, "It's over. No use to keep harpin' on it."

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