Monday, April 21, 2014

listen to me!

During a frustrating afternoon with my strong-willed girls last week, I posted the following on Facebook:

Faith, PEE IN THE POTTY instead of holding it. Josie, GO TO SLEEP instead of fighting it. We will all be happier if you will just LISTEN TO ME.

Jack and I were chuckling about it that evening-- how clearly we know what will make them happy, but they just won't do it. "Faith, your discomfort will go away if you empty your bladder. Promise." "Josie, you'll feel less miserable and cranky if you take a nap." It's so obvious to us that it's laughable.

But then Jack thoughtfully pointed out, "That's probably what God says to us."

How true! We foolish children don't do the very things that will give us joy-- and the worst part is that, unlike babies, we actually know better, deep down. 

In one of his talks, Peter Kreeft elaborated on this point (I know I've quoted him before-- listening to his podcasts was one of the biggest factors that helped me in my conversion).

We need to appreciate the problem before we can appreciate the solution. And the problem is not simply that we are imperfect; young piglets are imperfect. Or that we're mixtures of good and evil; delicious strawberries with a few rotten spots are mixtures of good and evil. The problem is not just that we're sheep wandering away from safety, foolish spoiled selfish children. Of course we're that. But we're much, much worse than that. We're not just morally weak, or morally bad. We are morally insane.
The word probably shocks you, and seems exaggerated and unrealistic-- and that's part of our insanity, by the way: denial-- so I shall now try to convince you from your own experience that you are insane. And I think if you are honest with yourself you will not be able to deny the facts that I am about to remind you of...
You know-- we all know, there are some things we can't not know-- you all know that there are two roads. There is good, and there is evil. There is the straight, and there is the crooked. There is the narrow, and there is the broad. There is Straight Street, and there is Broadway. You know that every day in life is full of big and little choices between those two roads, beginning with your very first conscious thought as you wake up in the morning. You know very well what lies down those two roads. You know that not just by faith, and not just by reason, but by experience, for you have walked down both roads many, many times, and you have always found the same living quarters there.
You do not have to believe-- you know-- the peacelessness and the joylessness and the regret and the shame, and above all the hiding and the self-deception and the self-loathing that lies down one road. And you know who it is that you never meet on that road, who you abandon on that road. Sin means not just doing "no-nos," but not doing God. Sin is a "No" not just to the Law, but to the Lawgiver, who is love, who is the gift of self that is the secret of joy.
And you also know with equal certainty and from the same experiential source that deep peace and joy and satisfaction, and even self-esteem, that meets you down the other road. And who always meets you there, who gives these gifts, and yet you repeatedly choose Broadway over Straight Street, many, many times. You prefer misery to joy. You are insane. Welcome to the human race; that's original sin.

The full text of the talk can be found here; you can download the podcast here (the talk I quoted is called The Dark Side).

No comments :

Post a Comment