C.S. Lewis on: Feelings of love

statue-upward-gaze

C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity:

Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will, [then] we are obeying the commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’ …We cannot create [feelings of love] ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right. But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not. It is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him.

image via: morguefile

C.S. Lewis on: Praise as complement

Applause! Praising what we love.

And no, I didn’t misspell “compliment.” I love this insight from C.S. Lewis, who proposes (accurately, I think) that praise is really the natural completion of enjoyment:

C.S. Lewis, from Reflections on the Psalms ―

But the most obvious fact about praise — whether of God or anything — strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval, or the giving of honor. I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. … The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game. … I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; … to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . . The Scotch catechism says that man’s chief end is ‘to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him.”

.

photo credit: Haags Uitburo via photopin cc

The must-have ingredient for a healthy marriage

amazing-grace-chalkboard-dearlillie-500x380

Graphic by Dear Lillie

Justin Davis:

When grace is missing from a marriage, three words dominate that relationship:

You. Owe. Me.

A lack of grace will cause a husband to be furious with his wife for going to a different gas station than he went to [making him late for a meeting]. A lack of grace will cause a wife to notice all that her husband does wrong and not see all he does right….

If you want to see change and improvement in your marriage, take a few minutes this week to think about how messed up and imperfect you are — and how God loves you anyway. That is grace….

Grace is the starting point from which all change is made.

.

- See the original post: One Thing That Changes Every Marriage.

- Graphic by Dear Lillie; cropped from the original. Original available for download at the Dear Lillie Shop.

Are you a billboard, or an ear?

cafe-conversation-overhead-view-610x380

I don’t usually write commentary, but I think between the media storm this week and Christmas gatherings upon us, this needs to be said.

To my brothers and sisters who follow Jesus: please bear this in mind as you gather with family and friends this week. Before you engage in an emotionally charged discussion of politics or morals, ask yourself:

1. Am I placing more emphasis on being right, or on building a trusting relationship, where my thoughts and feelings are welcomed, not feared or resented?

2. Is my true goal here to faithfully represent the truth AND grace of God — or is my true goal to show how excellent my arguments are and leave my hearers speechless?

3. Can I do this whole conversation with a gentle/humble tone of voice, facial expression, and body language?

If your answers give you pause, you might want to just excuse yourself from the conversation. That’s right: just walk away without expressing your opinion! If you can’t do that, this might be a clue that it is your pride — not God’s reputation — that’s at stake. God can defend himself, thank you very much. If you find that you’re just in it to win it, you really just need to walk away. (Preaching to myself here, too.)

A comment from an atheist on blog I read today said,

I want to know and see that the messenger lives in the good of his message. . . better yet when the messenger is the message. People who are the real deal speak better and deeper than billboards and bumper stickers. I can walk with people who are genuine, and even if we don’t agree, we come away better.

Winn Collier says:

What if, before we heralded our answers to every moral quandary, we asked questions about a person’s story, about what they hope for, what they are afraid of and what they most desire? Dallas Willard… when asked how a Christian should converse with others on dicey ethical issues, said, “I wouldn’t start with the rightness or wrongness. First, I’d be curious.” Would the world view the church differently if we owned the reputation as people who were authentically curious, who hoped to turn every stranger into a friend?

So don’t just be a billboard; don’t just be one-way communication; engage in an exchange. And if you are going to engage, before moving to your stance on a matter, ask your hearers some gentle, curious, questions; in a concerned way, not defensively — or worse — offensively. Questions such as, “What do you think?” “How did you come to believe this?” “Why does this matter to you, or why are you so passionate about it?”

And before you respond, check the above list again.

Apply. Rinse. Repeat.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18

For the blog post whose comment was quoted above, see this post (if you can stomach the billboard it refers to): http://brandonchase.net/2013/12/16/to-all-of-our-atheist-friends/

For the full article by Winn Collier: http://conversationsjournal.com/2012/03/a-curious-jesus/

.

Image: MyDigitalSLR via photopin cc