Friday, May 27, 2011

Love does not envy, it is not self seeking, it does not delight in evil

This is a C.S. Lewis quote worth considering:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.


At first glance this quote may seem to say nothing about love. But compassion by its nature is an outpouring of love, therefore, a misunderstanding of love can turn the outpouring of compassion into oppression.

Scripture tells us that in our last days the love of most will grow cold and that men will become lovers of self. What better way to love self than to claim for self the attribute of "compassion" while doing nothing to exercise compassion save being for compassion through political means?

Politicians love such a mindset because it gives them unlimited access to the nation's wealth through taxation for the purposes of exercising "compassion". This in turn gives them ever increasing power because each failure only demands more "compassion" when measured by intentions rather than results. To resist their political posturing is to resist their compassionate intentions, and what emotion based democracy is willing to resist compassionate intentions?

It's worth contemplating that the concept of envy found itself in the ten commandments(don't do it)and in I Corinthians 13(it's not love). In a strictly materialistic view of the world, which is arguably the predominate American view inside and outside of christianity, well-being is reduced to materialism, and compassion to material based "fairness". Such a view is a petri dish for envy. It denies the twin possibilities of happiness without wealth and wealth without happiness because in materialism, happiness and wealth are synonymous.

But scripture rejects this view and warns against the deceptions of material wealth. From a truly Christian perspective these two are not at all synonymous but rather are at war with one another. Furthermore, which trench one occupies in this war will reveal his true allegiance, whether to God, or to mammon. The love of mammon, which is a manifestation of the love of self, is evidenced by a preoccupation with material things while ignoring spiritual things.

There are many examples of this contemporary mindset, but one especially obvious one can be found in the financial black hole of our modern education institutions. In these cauldrons of loveless envy, God and objective truth have been expelled while simultaneously attempting to hold fast to ethics. This of course is Folly. Lewis has another famous and astute point regarding this:

We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.


Love is not satisfied with material possessions, and it does not demand some arbitrary standard of fairness concerning them. It demands much more, and it grows out of a much more fertile ground... like the real and true compassion that is more concerned with eternity than gratifying the vain and temporal flesh.

4 comments:

Craig and Heather said...

Your final paragraph is quite sobering, Dan.

And this:
Furthermore, which trench one occupies in this war will reveal his true allegiance, whether to God, or to mammon. The love of mammon, which is a manifestation of the love of self, is evidenced by a preoccupation with material things while ignoring spiritual things.

Too often, I've found myself settled in the trench of materialism.

Partway through reading this piece, the words "cruel to be kind, means that I love you..." went floating through my mind.

Heather

Dan said...

Too often, I've found myself settled in the trench of materialism.

Ahh but at least you are aware of battle going on in your very members. That is step one, and perhaps the most significant one I would say.

Z said...

"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful."

Boy, did CS Lewis know about our 21st century school system back THEN? seriously, how cogent.

I 'like my THINGS' but LOVE is so much more than that.

Dan said...

I agree, he showed incredible insight. I think part of that insight came from his involvement in academics, who, claiming be wise are really...