The Miserable

How monotonously alike all the great tyrants and conquerors have been: how gloriously different the saints.

-C.S. Lewis

   Evil, selfishness and greed are all predictable modes of being. Apart from the fact that all of us struggle with them to some degree, the man who is completely consumed with self or money will be led to behave in predictable, albeit disturbing ways. He may surprise you with the depth and/or intensity of his fallenness, but when faced with the depravity of men, we should not be surprised.
   On the other hand, true goodness and sacrificial Love seem to get less and less predictable as they increase in purity and intensity. Unselfish and compassionate behavior and actions are foreign to the average mind/heart. The periodically unselfish man will periodically surprise me with his ability to forgo honor or wealth for the sake of anothers well-being. The generally unselfish man generally surprises me. The often compassionate man more so. And finally you reach a level of self-forgetfulness and Love that is so alien to our minds that we can only react with complete rejection or humble embrace.
   And so we have the God-become-man, birthed among sinners, and sent to die for our sins in the most unimaginable and unbelievable act of sacrificial love this world has ever seen.
   I’m reminded of the candlestick scene from Les Misérables. You cannot take advantage of a truly unselfish person. For the man who holds no thing dear, what harm can another really do by theft or deceit? In a way, you have actually done him a favor (in the world’s eyes) by taking his things without his knowledge, for had you asked him directly for his food, his coat or his candlesticks he may have been so moved with compassion that he might offer you his shirt as well!
   In another way you have wronged him by depriving him of the joy of seeing the satisfaction, as temporary as it may be, that you derived from things he cared little about.
   The unselfish heart (I imagine) must continually be declaring:
      “Come if you have need, for I have so many things! Take what I have; it was not mine to begin with, nor is it now mine to hoard. I have no need for it. In fact, the cords of my heart are fully occupied, having been tied to the One and Only thing that gives true Life. Indeed, if you really want to take what is truly valuable to me, come follow me to heaven! But once we are there, I think we both will find that it was less about the treasure and more about the company.”


~ by justinhong on October 29, 2008.

4 Responses to “The Miserable”

  1. yup, i went on sunday! around maybe like 7-8 so probably b4 you guys. did u like it?

  2. justin you continually surprise me 🙂

  3. If only..

  4. =) i love the book quote.

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