Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Living with Lewis (is back)

Tuesdays with Lewis is back! I've started re-reading his book, The Four Loves, which is probably my favorite book by him. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to get a copy (for Tucsonans, I know the UA library has at least one copy) and read along!

Lewis starts off his book by making the distinction between gift-love and need-love: love which gives to another and love which arises out of a need that must be filled (e.g. the love of a mother for her child and the love of a child for his or her mother). And he advises us against the temptation to classify one as better than the other or one as more godly than the other. Though God loves through gift-love (He does not need us), He Himself desires our need-love.

Lewis writes:
"Man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God. For what can be more unlike than fullness and need, sovereignty and humility, righteousness and penitence, limitless power and a cry for help?"(4)
This is the paradox that seems to lie at the heart of Christianity. God, who needs nothing, decided to create creatures whom he could pour out his riches upon with the desire that they would turn and love him out of their desperate need for him. He loves despite the fact that many reject him (It says in Romans that Christ came and died for us while we were still his enemies). He loves expecting nothing in return.

It feels strange sometimes: I know that I seem to come to God in a constant state of desperation. I have nothing to give but my own broken life, and I have to come again and again with a prayer for help and a realization that I can do nothing on my own. And yet this is what God desires, that I come again and again to him empty so that he can fill me with his Spirit and his love. I can give nothing to God that he has not already given to me. It runs very counter to my logic of exchange in relationships. But God seems to run entirely counter to human logic in general ('For my thoughts are not your thoughts and neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord - Isaiah 55:8)

I love Lewis' book because it explores the many challenges and paradoxes of God's love and of the human loves with an incredible amount of wisdom and thought.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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