Friday, June 6, 2008

Hating Heroes - Its Bound to Happen

One of my heroes is C.S. Lewis. Oh, sure a lot of Christian writers say that, but I have a heartfelt connection to him.

His writing saved my mother's faith even as she struggled with cancer. And as I researched his life, I found out later he was a WWI vet with shrapnel still in his chest (hey - Tony Stark!), had a functionally alcoholic brother and lived with a very demanding woman he called his mother. Yet, during the worst time of crisis in WWII in Great Britain as bombs were falling on London, he was being broadcast on the BBC explaining the Christian faith.

He helped them to see it was NOT idealistic gas but rather a robust faith that answered the "problem of pain" in our world. In fact, he wrote a book on it my mother read - 35 years later in 1978.

His clear thinking in crisis, his steadfast faith when the world was - literally - coming apart around him, revealed his heroism. Add to this that he was a very active professor and answered (with his brother's help) EVERY letter sent to him, and we have someone remarkable, a pastor by correspondence.

Do you know what fellow colleague said about him? "[Lewis] is possibly the most evil man I have ever met." No, I couldn't believe it either. Later, when it was put before the university to grant him a very proper recognition for all his excellent academic work - a friend of Lewis heard two men say "Well, ready to go cast your vote against Lewis?" Not FOR the other guy who was on the same ballot, but AGAINST Lewis.

It stuns me. Evil? How in the world can you call a man who has done such good in such crisis as "evil"? Why hate him so?

Let me tell you how: the same way Cain whined to God after he had killed his brother. The self-pity just drips in every word:

Genesis 4:10-16 (NIV)

The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."

Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."

But the LORD said to him, "Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

God doesn't curse Cain - Cain cursed himself for violating the law of love and truth, i.e. the absolute Spiritual Laws no one can violate without consequences.

I cannot emphasize this point enough. I have heard this pitiful exegesis again and again from too many well-meaning Bible teachers: God does not curse Cain - Cain complains God is cursing him. (Furthermore, God did not "drive Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden" because of their sin, but because He could NOT let them eat of the Tree of Life and live forever - in nakedness and shame. If God is so tyrannical, why CLOTHE Adam and Eve? Why PROTECT the world's first murderer? Sheesh.)

In other words, if we often portray God as heartless and callous, like Cain did, how easily can we do the same to godly men? To men who in humility did the things that MUST be done for a greater good - and often at great pain and suffering to themselves?

I think godly men who stand against the seductions of the world are pretty awesome. And everyone who capitulates is going to, like Cain, complain that they are not being treated right.

I have more to say on this topic, but I wanted to just lay this foundation for my next post.

Oh - what was Jesus called for healing the demoniacs? Yeah - the religious folk called him "Baelzebub" - a Prince of Demons.

Wow. The most loving, sinless and humble man of all time: a Prince of Demons.

I think the counseling terminology for that is "projection". What I am feeling about you on the inside I project onto you. So if I am angry, I go around telling people YOU have the problem: "He's so angry!"

What comes out of our mouth about a Hero - who sacrifices his own good for others - tells us more about ourselves than about that person.

Let us praise those who give of themselves to save others. For they are, by reason of duty and calling, very rare individuals.

And if the superhero genre is any gauge as to our soul's insight, there is usually only one hero for an umpteen number of villains.

Be a hero. And do not be surprised if you are hated.
I John 3:12-14
Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers [in Christ]. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

No truer words can be said.

Prepare to be hated.

Its part of the job, bucko. Its part of the job.

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