until the next time

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In the thirteenth chapter of “The Great Divorce” by C.S.Lewis, an observation is made and can be seen today in many families and churches, the use of pity in the wrong way, which Lewis likens to blackmail.

In a moment of reflection it is observed that the adult currently is no different than as he was, as a child. Instead of putting the matter right he went and sulked in the attic but this is not a desire to be alone but rather a ploy because heĀ  knew sooner or later one of his sisters would feel bad that he was all alone. He used the pity they would feel, the time of sitting alone and the knowledge that they would give in, before he did, to find a companion who would not challenge him. After all, those who care can be genuine even to those who are false victims.

Those who seek to smooth things over so as to move on are in danger of failing to deal with the real issue. But such is the pressure, that you are tempted to do all that you can to stop the person from erupting rather than dealing with the real issue and the immaturity. A triangle, as Edwin Friedman describes has formed. The person who goes to comfort begins to feel a sense of power that comes with defending the victim. The trouble though, is that this victim is no real victim and such behaviour of both parties are in danger of having a negative impact on real victims who have suffered real injustices. When we fail to spot and deal with the real issue truthfully, we fail to love God first, because truth is a person and that person is Jesus who said “I am the way the truth and the life”.

Learning to handle the differences between thinking and feeling can be difficult. It is not uncommon for people to know better, but the emotional power is great and causes thoughts, words and deeds to go unchecked by Scripture. It’s possible to have a high view of self, without having a high view of family or the church. It is also possible to have a high view of Scripture but through a lack of understanding you are unable to notice when it’s not being practiced. True victims of injustice should not be undermined by false victims and their defenders.

By Daniel Ralph

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