DayBreaks for 5/20/16 – In the Coffin of Your Selfishness
NOTE: Galen will be out of the office and traveling next week.
From the DayBreaks archive, May 2006:
I’m a rather risk-averse person. I don’t climb sheer rock walls (with or without cables!), I don’t jump out of airplanes that are perfectly functioning, I don’t wrestle alligators or dive with sharks. I suppose some folks (maybe most) would think that my life is pretty dull and boring because I don’t knowingly take life-risking chances. So be it. I can live with that!
But it’s another matter when it comes to spiritual things. We are all given only one life to spend – and spend it we shall, one way or another. We’ll live our life based on certain sets of assumptions about reality, meaning, purpose, the existence or non-existence of God and life beyond the grave. The conclusions we reach about such things are based on what kind of risk we are willing to take. If you don’t believe there is a God, chances are you’ll live much differently in this world than if you do believe in Him. I know that if I didn’t believe He exists and has revealed Himself to us, I’d live much differently than I do. Different things would rise to the top of my priority list than currently reside there.
We do, however, all need to take some risk. I know people who have lost their spouse several years ago but they cannot seem to break free from their cave of grief and they isolate themselves from the people and events of the world. They decide not to risk ever being hurt again. C. S. Lewis, in The Four Loves, wrote: “Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
Lewis is right. When we withdraw and seek to avoid the entanglements that being a fully-functional human requires, we may be able to avoid pain – but only because our hearts turn to stone. And perhaps, that is a pain that we carry inside and never admit to ourselves.
I don’t want a heart that doesn’t beat, that doesn’t pulse with life and send it coursing through my being, nourishing not just me, but those I can interact with. If you’ve withdrawn because of the pain you’ve experienced because you gave your heart away once upon a time, take the risk to rise up out of the “coffin of selfishness” and live again. Jesus gave himself over and over, in love, to anyone he met who needed love – even those who were the most unlovely. And he was the perfect human – knowing pain, but also knowing the greatest joy any human has ever experienced. Our withdrawal from life puts us at the center of our own little universe, and that’s a place that only God should hold.
PRAYER: Father, create in us a new, clean heart, one that is willing to risk living the life abundant. For those pains we carry we seek your healing, for the fears that keep us locked in our own selfish coffins – alone and dejected – we ask you for courage to begin to live the life that Jesus died to give us, loving others as he did. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.