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Friday, April 04, 2008

Master Mentor #18

Chapter 17 (Book 3, Chapter 7)
In CS’s discussion about forgiveness today, he takes on the notion of “loving one’s neighbor as themselves.” In this midst of the conversation, he says something very interesting:
“Remember, we Christians think man lives for ever. Therefore, what really matters is those little marks or twists on the central, inside part of the soul which was going to turn it, in the long run, into a heavenly or a hellish creature. We may kill if necessary, but we must not hate and enjoy killing. We may punish if necessary, but we must not enjoy it. In other words, something inside us, the feeling of resentment, the feeling that wants to get one’s own back, must be simply killed. I do not mean that anyone can decide this moment that he will never feel it any more. That is not how things happen. I mean that every time it bobs its head up, day after day, year after year, all our lives long, we must hit it on the head. Its hard work, but the attempt is not impossible. Even while we kill and punish we must try to feel about the enemy as we feel about ourselves – to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured; in fact, to wish his good.” (page 107-108)
One thing that always seems to be struggled with is applying this principle of “loving your neighbors” to the act of war. As I listen to Christians… some of which are preachers and ministers… talk about how terrible ‘war’ is and how it is opposed to this idea of loving our neighbors, I often wonder how they come together. CS has, in my opinion, found that middle ground that applies in both situations.
But he has, as it would seem to me, found the area that is somewhat unrecognizable to others. I cannot by looking at someone other than myself tell what is in their heart. I cannot tell by looking at someone else whether or not there is hatred in their heart. And sometimes I cannot tell if there is indeed hatred in my heart. But it does seem reasonable to make the attempt at “killing” that which is within me that hates.

Jim

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