April 2, 2021

God, And Us, In The Dock

In my leadership classes I begin by discussing what I think is the most important trait of leadership: humility. I don’t mean a personality style, I mean the ability to take responsibility for the good and bad, and to be honest about it. It means that your first move is never pointing fingers, it's always looking in the mirror.

In many ways, that is the first step to being a Christian, taking responsibility. As CS Lewis said in “God in the Dock”

“The greatest barrier I have met is the almost total absence from the minds of my audience of any sense of sin... The early Christian preachers could assume in their hearers, whether Jews, Metuentes, or Pagans, a sense of guilt. (That this was common among Pagans is shown by the fact that both Epicureanism and the mystery religions both claimed, though in different ways, to assuage it.) Thus the Christian message was in those days unmistakably the Evangelium, the Good News. It promised healing to those who knew they were sick. We have to convince our hearers of the unwelcome diagnosis before we can expect them to welcome the news of the remedy."

"The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.”

In a world where many people seem to make a living looking for excuses for their circumstances, the reality of one’s condition can be an elusive quarry. It can become a sort of tyranny.

As Lewis goes on to say in "God in the Dock":

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

It satiates our ego to put God and others in the dock. Judgment is so easy. But the hard thing, the Christian thing, the human thing, is putting ourselves in the Dock. That is where the road to truth begins.

More episodes

Load more

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App