Life often gives us a reality check. Recently I posted the following on my Face Book page:
"It's pretty amazing what we believe about ourselves. Most beliefs boil down to an amazing confidence in ourselves to get... where? And for what? They do so by not really looking at ourselves, long and hard, and seeing that we have a real problem - us - all of us. We need something much deeper than a jingoistic pep-talk which just panders to our ego... we need to realize that we are in a very deep hole and the only escape is to be rescued, and when we see that, there aren't many people left in the problem with us who can truly help".
I was staggered by the responses I received, essentially taking the view in most cases that human beings were actually pretty OK and didn't need much more than their ego's fluffed so that they could tidy-up their act and their environment and everything would be just peachy. Well, I argued my case, seeking to state that no, there really is something wrong with the human condition, but the stubborn reply was I was wrong.
It brought to mind an astute quote by C S Lewis:
“When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. A moderately bad man knows he is not very good: a thoroughly bad man thinks he is all right. This is common sense, really. You understand sleep when you are awake, not while you are sleeping. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. You can understand the nature of drunkenness when you are sober, not when you are drunk. Good people know about both good and evil: bad people do not know about either.”
Luther stated there are three things we all truly know -
that God exists, that He has a Law, and that we are all judged by that Law.
The problem, of course, with such a God, is not His transcendence, but His immediacy.
The very nature of His intimacy is shown in the manner in which what has been made is bent towards us - those made in His image. It is what is totally plain and evident to us in this world which so condemns us, for it is here we see the nature of His character and power, and it is also here we see our rejection of that truth, thus, our manufacturing of a 'god' which is either so transcendent or so conformed to our wishes that it is of no consequence whatsoever.The aim becomes a 'happiness' that is as deep as our immediate wants and needs (food, pleasure, comfort and health), devoid of the fact that we temporarily reside over the void created by sin which is always concluded in judgement and death.
The very 'contentment' we believe we have devised in our present 'happiness', is, in effect,merely the first stage of judgement at work - a being given over to our own delusions.
It's painful to encounter such harsh truths, especially amongst friends, but it is the realm which surrounds us everyday, so an equally shocking confrontation with those realities is essential if we are to provide a moment where a wake-up call can occur... the words of the preacher in Ecclesiates may not be popular, but the realism is imperative to rescue.
I hope and pray that such moments will allow a pause for sober reflection as found here.