Cowardice and Courage

     Let us discuss for a moment, one of our great Christian Authors.  Taking a look, at what he had to say on the topic of cowardice and courage and how it connects to the Word of God and then our life today.  C.S. Lewis is of whom I speak and his famous “The Screwtape Letters.” 

For the purpose of clarity, C.S.Lewis wrote this book during the World War.  First copyright was 1942.  Since that time, it has been reprinted many times.  The book serves as a series of letter between Satan and his workers.  Through these letters, Lewis has managed to show us just how the Enemy tries to undermine and entrap God’s people, and those God would have come to know Him.    

During this particular letter, Lewis makes several observations worthy of discussion, especially applicable to us, in the climate of world unrest we live in today.  Let us look at each point seeing if they are founded and based in the Word of God.   

*   Lewis believes the Enemy attempts to make us proud of our cowardice and God counteracts that by bringing and/or allowing some type of natural disaster, war, calamity, or the like to bring out our courage. We know that it is not God’s desire that we live in fear or cowardice.  God has told us in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  It is God’s desire that we live with a sense of empowerment, loving others, and ourselves walking daily with a sense of confidence, peace, and direction, which comes through a solid mind.  

I can see were there could be times when we see the lack of involvement in any given situation as “keeping the peace” and something to be proud of doing.  However, at what cost are we doing such?  Are people suffering and being unjustly treated, because we are too afraid to do anything or speak up?  Again, yet, we whom are Christians often call this lack of action, this lack of courage “keeping the peace.”  God truly hates injustice.  He calls upon His people to do something about this grievous act.  Psalm 82 tells us to “Do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.” 

Does God however bring about such horrible things as disaster, war, and calamity?  Though it is hard to understand and accept His Word says that He does.  We find in Isaiah 45: 5, 7 God saying of Himself, “I am the LORD, and there is none else.  I form the light, and create darkness:  I make peace, and create evil 7451   :  I the LORD do all these things.”[Note: The New King James Version uses the word “calamity” here instead of evil.]  

Now I will share with you the meaning of the word “evil” in the Hebrew text.  Hebrew Reference #7451.rah; from 7489; bad or (as noun) evil(natural or moral):— adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, + displease (-ure), distress, evil ([-favouredness], man, thing), + exceedingly, × great, grief (-vous), harm, heavy, hurt (-ful), ill (favoured), + mark, mischief (-vous), misery, naught (-ty), noisome, + not please, sad (-ly), sore, sorrow, trouble, vex, wicked (-ly, -ness, one), worse (-st), wretchedness, wrong. 

 

*   Lewis states once this occurs, courage in people rises to the surface, and they come to understand just how much apathy they had entertained and how cowardly they have become.We often hear of people during a time of disaster doing things to help others, taking risk with their own life on behalf of another person, or in standing up for a cause that they just could not stand to see go on any longer. 

 *   Next in Lewis’ view is that this then leads to self-knowledge and repentance.  Frequently, it is through this sense of, “enough is enough” that one sees their own apathy and cowardice; being moved by their self-awareness to repent of these traits, turning instead to the strength and courage God endowed them with at creation.  

  *   According to Lewis, this attributes to a rise in moral awareness.  People begin to see good and evil for what it is and this makes their eyes open to morality. We find this to be true when it comes to
America and the people’s sense of awareness to injustice in the World and their desire to stop evil from advancing.  A vast majority of America is a Christian Nation, less than in years past, but that sense of right and wrong, good and evil, is still present in
America.  The desire to stopped evil from spreading comes from an inner sense of moral awareness, on some level.  I believe built within each of us, by God, is a conscious where God’s truths lie and birth this moral awareness, whether we believe in God or not.  I believe this place to be the “inner man.”  Ephesians 3:16 talks about the inner man; “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,”
 

*   Lastly, Lewis remarks that it is through calamity, danger, etc. that one is able to truly see if their virtues of honesty, love, charity, mercy, etc. are based only on their circumstances and conditions.  Lewis points out that Pilate was merciful until it became risky.When we find ourselves in those times of most difficulty, it is there that God allows us to see what our virtues truly are and what they are not.  It is not God who needs to know these things, for He already know us through and through; it is we who many times do not know ourselves.  These experiences, which we often hate, help us to take the next step we need to take, in our Spiritual growth.  Ephesians 4:23, 24 “and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” 

How awesomely true!  — What Lewis points out here about Pilate.  He said he could not find fault in Jesus in Luke 23:4 “So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this
Man.” 
With the pressure on however, Pilate did what the people wanted done.  An act which in its time appeared evil, nonetheless, we on the other side of the cross know it was God’s Will and used for the good of an eternity full of people.

 

 

 

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Share more from Lewis’ writings.

  2. i’ve just come across your blog. i liked a few of the recent entries i read so i wanted to start at the beginning. i have never read the screwtape letters but obviously i have heard of cs lewis because of the narnia books. your entry was so interesting i think i may read the screwtape letters. it’s strange to consider god creating evil, but it makes a lot of sense. i guess i haven’t thought about god in that light before. in fact, i did not even know the bible said that and i thought i knew my bible pretty well.

    • I am blessed that you are finding the blog to be informative spiritually. Please know that if you have spiritual questions you would like to ask that you can request that I email you personally and privately. Dead Sea Scrolls and PTM Writer


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