“What does it matter if our own plans are frustrated? Is it not better to serve our neighbor than to have our own way?”— Dietrcih Bonhoeffer, “Life Together” pg. 95
Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion – without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person’s humanity and imitate God’s love for him. And when one knows that God’s love is greater than all sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of God’s justice and so rediscover one’s own sinfulness.
Miroslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace
Give me a faith which can remove And sink the mountain to a plain; Give me the childlike praying love Which longs to build thy house again; Thy love, let it my heart o’erpower, Let it my ransomed soul devour.
I would the precious time redeem And longer live for this alone— To spend and to be spent for them Who have not yet my Savior known; Fully on these my mission prove, And only breath, to breath thy love.
My talents, gifts and graces, Lord, Into Thy blessed hands receive; And let me live to preach thy word, And let me to thy glory live; My every sacred moment spend In publishing the sinner’s Friend.’
Enlarge, inflame and fill my heart With boundless charity divine; So shall I all my strength exert, And love them with a zeal like Thine; And lead them to Thine open side, The sheep for whom their shepherd died.
One of the great stirring truths of the Bible is that the man who looks for justice from others is a fool. In moral and spiritual life if a man has a sense of injustice, he ceases to be of use to his fellowmen. Never waste your time looking for justice; if you do you will soon put yourself in bandages and give way to self-pity. Our business is to see that no one suffers from our injustice.
Oswald Chambers, Shade of His Hand, pg. 48
C.S. Lewis on being careful rather than loving.
“Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as ‘Careful! This might lead you to suffering.’
… When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities.…
There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.
The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
CS Lewis The Four Loves