Russell and Duenes

The Trouble with “X”

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Having finished Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, I’ve now returned to C.S. Lewis’ God in the Dock. As I’ve noted previously, I could write about virtually every paragraph in this book. But I came to the chapter yesterday entitled, “The Trouble with ‘X.'” (You can read it here.) Leaving aside Lewis’ arguments about God’s inability to override human will, his wisdom here is of a very practical kind. Everyone can think of the trouble with “X” person, but we can rarely see what Lewis calls the “fatal flaw” in ourselves that others have been trying, in various ways, to tell us about, perhaps for many long years, to no avail.

And then Lewis imagines how God sees these fatal character flaws brought to bear in our relationships, for God sees not only the trouble with “X”, but the trouble with me, and He sees it in all of its ugliness, and He sees it in light of His own incredible kindness and favor to me.

The simple, yet practical, wisdom of Lewis’ observation, however, is that there is absolutely nothing I can do to change the fatal flaw in “X”, but I can indeed do something about it in myself. He writes, “Of all the awkward people in your house or job there is only one whom you can improve very much. That is the practical end at which to begin. And really, we’d better. The job has to be tackled some day: and every day we put it off will make it harder to begin.”

Lewis concludes that while this fatal character flaw remains “there can be no Heaven for you, just as there can be no sweet smells for a man with a cold in the nose, and no music for a man who is deaf. It’s not a question of God ‘sending’ us to Hell. In each of us there is something growing up which will of itself be Hell unless it is nipped in the bud. The matter is serious: let us put ourselves in His hands at once – this very day, this hour.”



Written by Michael Duenes

April 13, 2012 at 10:37 am

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