Monday, August 27, 2012

A Lesson from Lewis

The other evening I was reading, from C. S. Lewis's little book, The Problem of Pain, the chapter in which he addresses guilt. His words on corporate and national guilt are quite applicable our day:
We feel ourselves to be involved in an iniquitous social system and to share a corporate guilt.  This is very true: but the enemy can exploit even truths to our deception.  Beware lest you are making use of the idea of corporate guilt to distract your attention from those hum-drum, old-fashioned guilts of your own which have nothing to do with ‘the system’ and which can be dealt with without waiting for the millennium.  For corporate guilt perhaps cannot be, and certainly is not, felt with the same force as personal guilt. For most of us, as we now are, this conception is a mere excuse for evading the real issue. When we have really learned to know our individual corruption, then indeed we can go on to think of the corporate guilt and can hardly think of it too much.  But we must learn to walk before we run.
– C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
It is easy to get on a righteous band wagon protesting homosexuality, abortion, socialism, government-dependency and the other God-denying evils swirling about us in our nation. These evils are worthy of our grief and are calls for us to repent and pray - but repent of what? Not just that myriads in our nation approve of homosexual behavior and killing babies, but that I myself have not faithfully crucified the flesh, that I love to please my senses and prefer convenience to loving sacrifice for others - for these sins in my heart are at the root of those sins in our nation. "We must learn to walk before we run." 

And where do we walk, and then run? To the cross of Jesus Christ. "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2 ESV) Here, in Jesus Christ, my own guilt finds its solution, and here there is enough hope for nation of sinners.

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