Human Wickedness and the Hope of Resurrection Thoughts on C.S. Lewis and The Problem of Pain

The Problem of Pain Chapter 4, Human Wickedness. C.S. Lewis. The Liturgy of Life Reading Group

 

If you have been in the Christian world for any time at all you have probably come across one of these. You may have even handed them out or stuffed them under doors or into envelopes hoping that somehow the message of God’s love would reach someone who needed to hear it.

 

Right now in the Liturgy of Life Reading Group we are on chapter 4 of C.S. Lewis’, The Problem of Pain. In this chapter Lewis makes a valiant case for human wickedness.  He describes our innate feelings of inadequacy and our tendency to rationalize our shame, after all I’m not any worse than she is right?

The Problem of Pain Chapter 4, Human Wickedness. C.S. Lewis. The Liturgy of Life Reading Group

Honestly, I don’t need Lewis to convince me of my wickedness, the dark memories that rush over me on sleepless nights and the unmentionable thoughts that flash into my mind even today are enough.

 

But our post-modern nation has lost interest in the notion of sin and I’m afraid even Lewis’ plea for us to regain it is not going to gain much popularity. In today’s culture an emphasis on this aspect of our faith results in us blindly pointing fingers at our family and friends, calling them sinners and them, for good reason, pointing back calling us fools. In a world without standards a sin is only a sin if you believe it to be.

 

In Christian evangelism our first failure is to assume that the life of another person is spiritually dead.  Despite the normalization of secularism in our culture there remains a Living Spirit in all of us.  Many who know or care nothing for the love of Christ still consider themselves deeply spiritual and share with the Christian a longing for a life beyond death.

 

We are a people who know the agony of death and who long for resurrection. To share the love of Christ with another soul we must  start by recognizing that in pain we find connection with all humanity. And If we allow it, our suffering will hasten us into the hands of one another and at the same moment into the arms of God.

 

The Problem of Pain Chapter 4, Human Wickedness. C.S. Lewis. The Liturgy of Life Reading Group
A billboard taken from Alpha, a ministry devoted to having open discussions about Christianity with people from a various backgrounds.

 

 

 

This year in the Liturgy of Life reading group we are meditating on ideas of suffering and faith. Please join us in our current book, The Problem of Pain in another week. For more from Liturgy of Life you can subscribe here for occasional updates and emails (usually about one per week), like me on facebook, or join our facebook discussion group.

 

 


2 Comments

  • Shannon Reply

    Our first failure is to assume that the life of another person is spiritually dead.

    THIS. Yes. When I really came to understand this concept a few years ago, my worldview was rocked in the most beautiful way. But I don’t think I’ve ever been able to articulate it quite this well. So thank you!

    I haven’t been as active on the FB group as I’d like to be, but I really do get a lot out of reading your reflections over the book! So thanks for writing!

    • egjarrett Reply

      Thanks Shannon. I haven’t been as active on FB group as I’d like to be either so no worries there. For me reading these books and putting enough thought into what I’m reading to at least jot down a short post has really stretched me to grow up spiritually, obviously I have a lot more growing to do but at least I feel like I spend less time floundering which for me is a step in a good direction.

      I think we all long for resurrection, we all know death is painful (though I guess some faiths would encourage one not to see it that way) We have a lot of common ground and I’m trying to spend more time looking at what connects us rather than what divides us though I’ll be the first to admit it isn’t easy.

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