Tag Archives: wisdom

Wisdom in 2016

Each morning I receive into my inbox an email that highlights one small piece of CS Lewis’ writings. Sometimes it is an exerpt from his Narnia series, sometimes from another book he has written and other times from letters that he wrote to others at the end of his life.

They are always interesting and give insight in to the day to day thinking of this intellectual and spiritual giant, at other times it is an open door to the emotions he displays in his own struggles.

I find it to be reassuring that someone like CS Lewis had real struggles, that he wrestled with feelings and thoughts as we do, well I do. He does not like growing old, yet he clearly understands that he is on his way to a better time (I hesitate around the word place) which he compares to a river struggling to make its way to the open sea.

His writings always point to God, always point to faith as a way of life, but never excuse or dismiss the struggles of life, and in his letters he always affirms the expressed problems or worries that the received letter has generated. I like that. I like that he is quick to acknowledge that this life is filled with struggle.

Jesus said, in this world you will have trouble. Yes indeed.

As long as we have family ot worry about. As long as sin abounds. As long as people choose poorly. As long as we continue to live beyond our means, to serve ourselves, we will have trouble.

So how we do I choose to live? Well I’ve learned long ago that faith needs to be at the centre of life. It might not give me all the answers, but it does give me perspective. I would like all my family to choose the same, for it brings less pain in to life, but I know they will not all choose so.

So I pray that God will influence their thinking, their choosing.

It’s so easy to drift.

It’s also so easy to choose.

Jesus told those who listened – choose life.

So for 2016 I desire to choose wisdom.

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On nasty people – CS Lewis

In the years that have been filled with ministry – and in life in general there are people who are just nasty.  For whatever reason they decide to act and talk in caustic ways.  CS Lewis has a great comment on this subject in a letter from 1954.  His wisdom still stands.

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On disagreeable, nasty people; and on avoiding obsessing about their bullying.

10 March 1954

I am sorry things are not better. I am very puzzled by people like your Committee Secretary, people who are just nasty. I find it easier to understand the great crimes, for the raw material of them exists in us all; the mere disagreeableness which seems to spring from no recognisable passion is mysterious. (Like the total stranger in a train of whom I once asked ‘Do you know when we get to Liverpool’ and who replied ‘I’m not paid to answer your questions: ask the guard’). I have found it more among boys than anyone else. That makes me think it really comes from inner insecurity—a dim sense that one is Nobody, a strong determination to be Somebody, and a belief that this can be achieved by arrogance. Probably you, who can’t hit back, come in for a good deal of resentful arrogance aroused by others on whom she doesn’t vent it, because they can. (A bully in an Elizabethan play, having been sat on by a man he dare not fight, says ‘I’ll go home and beat all my servants’). But I mustn’t encourage you to go on thinking about her: that, after all, is almost the greatest evil nasty people can do us—to become an obsession, to haunt our minds. A brief prayer for them, and then away to other subjects, is the thing, if one can only stick to it. I hope the other job will materialise. . . .

I too had mumps after I was grown up. I didn’t mind it as long as I had the temperature: but when one came to convalescence and a convalescent appetite and even thinking of food started the salivation and the pain—ugh! I never realised ‘the disobedience in our members’ so clearly before [Romans 7:23]. Verily ‘He that but looketh on a plate of ham and eggs to lust after it, hath already committed breakfast with it in his heart’ (or in his glands) [Matthew 5:28].

I shall wait anxiously for all your news, always praying not only for a happy issue but that you may be supported in all interim anxieties.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack