"...if we be honest with ourselves,
we shall be honest with each other." ~ George MacDonald
"...if we be honest with ourselves,
we shall be honest with each other." ~ George MacDonald

A Sick Satisfaction

... the satisfaction we feel when wrong comes to grief. Why do we feel this satisfaction? Because we hate wrong, but, not being righteous ourselves, more or less hate the wronger as well as his wrong, hence are not only righteously pleased to behold the law’s disapproval proclaimed in his punishment, but unrighteously pleased with his suffering, because of the impact upon us of his wrong. In this way the inborn justice of our nature passes over to evil. It is no pleasure to God, as it so often is to us, to see the wicked suffer. George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons

This sickness, this pleasure we take in seeing others suffer has made a mess of this world. We are all to blame, to some degree or another. This sickness, this lack of love in our hearts, causes us to be cruel and unkind. It causes us to be unjust, to neglect the needy and be self-centred. ("The evidence of maturity is love." We will never treat people as we ought while we do not love them as we ought.) The Bible calls this perversion sin and says the wages of sin is death. (David Bentley Hart's book That All Shall Be Saved  helped me understand, more than any other book (apart from the Bible), the nature of the sickness and just how deep it is in all of us. None of us are truly free of it. This insight is helping me to be more patient and compassionate with others.)

If we try to ignore this problem we not only harm others, we harm ourselves. Why? Because "Love makes everything lovely"~ George MacDonald

Father Zossima, in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, thought of hell as "the suffering of being unable to love."

A psychologist had this to say about the biblical command to love:

"I believe that it can be successfully argued that every personal or behavioral problem one might wish to change (for example, bad temper, perverted sexual desires, depression, anxiety, overeating) results ultimately from violations of the command to love. If that’s true, then learning to love is not only necessary for spiritual maturity but also central to overcoming psychological problems" (Crabb, L. 2013, Inside Out).

If we try to ignore our need for love and our need to love, and instead pursue self-centred passions, we will be vulnerable to every ill wind that blows our way. We will not be able to weather well the storms of life.

A father talking to his son, described it like this:

"Your soul will be but a windmill thing
    Blown round by its hopes and fears." ~ (George MacDonald, from the poem "Willie's Question")

So what are we to do? There is no way to avoid the problems of life. Where can we find the love which will enable us to love?

There is good news, and there's some bad news too. The good news is God loves all of us; and he will never stop loving any of us (see the video below).

The bad news is each of us has hurt those he loves. Therefore he offers us forgiveness and says he will change our hearts toward our brothers and sisters. He offers us peace, security and strength. All we have to do is admit we've been in the wrong and begin to trust him. We will not seek forgiveness and know the peace that passes understanding, until we are aware of how we have sinned (see the video above).


Slaves to Sin

A Conversation

An Open Letter to the Church Leadership