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The Great Sin: Mere Christianity

This is the chapter that may shake your world. I’m reading an old tattered copy that has notes and underlinings from my then teenage daughter, Sally. This chapter is particularly full of underlinings, confessions, and determined prayers. Her own testimony is that during all of her childhood she thought Christ chose her because she was such a good girl, but then God opened her eyes to the great sin.

This is the chapter that brought Charles Colson to repentance.

This is the chapter that led Tom Monaghan, devout Catholic and founder Domino’s Pizza, to stop building his mansion.

Tim Keller says his two main mentors have been Jonathan Edwards and C. S. Lewis — and I hear Lewis’s thinking so often in Keller, and will share one such sermon that I believe may have been inspired by this chapter in Mere Christianity.

Let’s pray for play-dough hearts as we do this together.


1. What stands out to you from the above and why?


2. Read or listen to The Great Sin and share a few things that stand out to you.

Tuesday: Reflections on The Great Sin

3. Lewis asks us to ask ourselves: “How much does it bother me when people snub me or refuse to take notice of me?” How would you answer?

4. Do you feel rivalry with those who have the same talent you have, but seem to be noticed more?

5. Why is it that pride keeps us from both others and God?

6. What does Lewis call the “real black diabolical pride” and why?

7. Why is God’s demand for glory not pride?

Wednesday: Optional Sermon by Keller on Blessed Self-Forgetfulness


      Blessed Self-Forgetfulness - Timothy J. Keller

8. If you listened to the above, share your notes or comments.


Thursday: Charity  

By charity, Lewis means not just giving, which is just one aspect of charity, but loving others well.  

Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor. Act as if you do. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you love someone, you will presently come to love him.

                                                     C. S. Lewis

9. Have you experienced the above of choosing to act loving and then experiencing genuine love for that person? If so share.

10. Read or listen to the chapter on charity and share anything that stands out to you.

Friday: Reflections on Charity

11. Lewis said that some people are cold by temperament and don’t naturally feel affectionate toward others — and that in itself isn’t a sin. Thoughts?

12. Lewis also says, however, they are not off the hook, “liking” someone is a help toward being charitable toward them, but that they have a responsibility toward acting loving toward others, and the feelings will follow. Thoughts?


13. Now, remembering these were radio addresses given during World War II, Lewis says: “The Germans, perhaps, at first ill-treated the Jews because they hated them; afterwards they hated them much more because they had ill-treated them. The more cruel you are, the more you will hate, and the more you hate, the more cruel you will become…” Thoughts and application to your own life?



14. What is your take-a-way and why?





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  1. Sunday:
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The “I” in the pride. I have seen this illustration before, have talked about it with others but it never fails to hit a sensitive chord in my heart whenever I see it. There is so much of that in me when I think of hurts of the past. Or just like Sally growing up thinking that her/my goodness is good enough. And what a life full of fear! Whenever I felt like I did not measure up (which happened many times), I beat myself and was the hardest on forgiving myself. Thoughts of God not loving me occupied my mind. I have still a lot of weeding to do in my life. I want to have a surrendered heart to God.

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?


    Well, Lewis just keeps on “hitting”….”hard-hitting”. I just re-read the chapter on forgiveness this morning and finished last wek’s questions, and I read ahead the chapter on pride. I saw so much of myself in his examples (the ones about proud people). I can understand why this one would profoundly affect people as they read it. Pride – I see it in myself, I know it’s there even when I don’t see it (or won’t admit it), I can often feel it soaring in me like a plane taking off on the runway, and oh, how do I ever really get rid of it?

  3. Sunday

    1.  What stands out to you from the above and why?

    It must of thrilled your heart Dee, to see your teenage daughter, Sally, reading this book and how this chapter had an impact in her relationship with the Lord.  I pray it has the same impact on me and may I continually ask the Lord to search my heart and show me the ugliness of pride in my life.


  4. I so need this.  Thank you.

  5. Well I am currently running 2 wks behind in this study, but am keeping up best I can with busy summertime.  The grandkids are all here this week, hoping to catch up this weekend.  I had time this a.m. to read the above, & now that the kids are tucked in for the night, I just had to comment on Tuesday’s #3 question, re how much does it bother me when people snub or refuse to take notice of me.  Because something happened just days ago that made me realize I care way too much!

    I am determined to clean up (& out) my basement after accumulating decades of stuff.  I am finding out that I keep way too much paper…did I save every note, card, diary, letter ever written /sent to me?  Incredible.  So in the process I found some old diaries, as far back as when I was 9-10 yrs old.  It just struck me, reading through the years, how very very close knit our (small town) community was back then.  Every single week, we were either with our cousins, at their houses for dinner or our house, at our gramma’s house, at our friend’s houses, our church community, school– it was almost every single day that we had that support, care, love, help from any one of those groups of people.  They were constantly in our lives.  When someone needed help, we would go & help.  If it was our family that needed help, people came to help, however they could.  Reading those old diaries, I was just amazed at how constant, how strong our community was back then.  I thought about it for a long time, how sad it is that that seems to be missing in our culture here now, those are days gone by.  I feel it, I feel that sense of loss, the loss of a strong, caring, loving, close-knit community.  I long for that in my life, but we are a much more mobile generation & it is sadly lost.

    So I wrote an email to my sister and mom about it.  I went into some detail.  My sister wrote back a short paragraph about it, agreeing with me & said she remembered that also.  My mom (86 yrs) wrote to both of us, and said to my sister, “That was a beautiful tribute to our family.  I am going to print your paragraph out & let the relatives read it, I know they will feel greatly honored.”  When I read her words I couldn’t believe it.  Even knowing she gets things mixed up at her age, I went back & read, then re-read what my sister wrote, trying to find what she deemed such a beautiful tribute.  But there was nothing there.  I’m guessing she took the memories of what I initially wrote, then connected those to my sister’s (her agreeing with me), and gave all the ‘glory & honor’ to my sister.  She’s the oldest, & ‘favored’ one (no secret in our family).

    I tried not to let it get to me, but it just kept eating away at me.  And that ol’ thing called pride ate a nice big chunk out of me until I came to my senses & realized what was happening.  Did it matter?  NO.  I was letting something very small become very big, & in the end it did not matter.  But it also made me realize how much it did matter to me, how proud I was and am, and it is not something I want to be.  For me, it is a constant struggle to overcome pride!

    1. Wow! That must have been a hard thing to handle but it seems like you overcame.

    2. Wendy, I loved your post! First off, what you describe of your childhood and being surrounded by family and community, and how it’s missing today. So true….I also look back fondly at memories of every Sunday being a “family dinner” with my grandparents and maybe aunts and uncles, too, and of how, on our street, the neighbors were out and often would congregate on our front porch in the summer evenings. I still love to sit outside on my front porch, but usually everyone’s house is shut-up and it looks as if no one’s home! And then, what happened with your mom and sister. Oh yes, I have felt the sting of “family favoritism” too. Thanks for your honesty!

  6. Wendy, I so empathize with you and thank you for sharing your testimony testimony. “For me it is a constant battle to overcome pride.” Yes, it is for me, it seems like everyday I am faced with how to deal with it. I now think that is one of  the enemy’s best tactics in his arsenal. I did a google search on the word “pride” and one site had 58 verses referring to it! It should do me good to re-read those verses.

  7. Monday:
    2. Read or listen to The Great Sin and share a few things that stand out to you.
     Such convicting words.
    But pride always means enmity – it is enmity. And not only enmity between man and man, but enmity to God. In God you come up against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to yourself. Unless you know God as that – and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in comparison -you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.
    For Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.

  8. Monday

    2.  Read or listen to The Great Sin and share a few things that stand out to you.

    ”Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”  “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.”  “As long as you are proud you cannot know God.  A proud man is always looking down on things/people…as long as your looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”  There is so much in this chapter…very convicting!

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but in reading this it was very easy to see these things in other people…why is it so hard to see it in ourselves?  I shared with my husband the quote Ernema used…”For pride is spiritual cancer:it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”   and he jokingly said “I see that so so much in other people.”

  9. I’m getting a very slow start on this week’s study. I was busy last week, but I think those 2 chapters were very insightful, thought provoking and called for a thorough examination so I didn’t want to skip over anything or go too fast. I have been catching up on everyone’s comments from last week as well. So much wisdom in everyone’s answers.

  10. 1.  What stood out. The need to have a play dough heart. I need to be more pliable. To be easily moved in His hands. To not just see what He sees, but to will to do what He does.


    2.  Chapter eight. Pride is competitive. That is a new thought to me. Having just spent a weekend with my eleven year old granddaughter helps illustrate this. Her brother is getting a different bedroom, and so she wants one. Never mind that the new bedroom is smaller than most walk in closets. Just the fact that he is getting something and she is not is enough for her to be upset and looking for extra attention and affirmation. I look forward to the remedy!


    3.  How do I feel when I am snubbed or ignored? It is painful, and brings me back to my childhood, where I was told  nonverbally that I didn’t matter. Thinking about how I respond reminds me of David’s son, Adonijah. He became prideful and said ‘I will be king’ while David was still alive. It was also without David’s knowledge or blessing. Putting self forward is hatred toward God, despite its being thought essential in today’s employment world.

  11. Tuesday

    3.  Lewis asks us to ask ourselves:  “How much does it bother me when people snub me or refuse to take notice of me?  How would you answer?

    When I saw this question my first thought was “it doesn’t bother me at all.”  I’m an introvert and really don’t like to be noticed and if I was snubbed it probably wasn’t acknowledged.  Then I got to thinking about the idol of “affirmation” which came through being on Facebook (which I’m no longer on).   I fed on the likes and comments and it quite literally became my “god”!  My thought on this is, pride is manifested in other sins.  I guess that’s why Lewis calls it “The Great Sin.”  

    4.  Do you feel rivalry with those who have the same talent you have, but seem to be noticed more?

    Again, this came through on Facebook when I was on a page of competitive photography.  I would feel jealousy when other pictures were picked or commented on that I didn’t think were very good or as good as mine!  Pride was manifested in jealousy.  I am really sickened by what I see in myself from these last two questions because as Dee said in the introduction, “This is the chapter that may shake your world.”  These are just two examples I’ve given you.  In my heart I know there is more!


  12. 5.  Pride keeps us from both others and God because it makes us think we are above others, or even above God. We convince ourselves that we know best, do best, are best. It is very ugly!


    6.  Black diabolical pride is so looking down on others that we think of their opinions, and even them, as worthless. Such a tightrope we need to walk. To not think we are the only one, but also not to let the opinions of others be our compass. In other words, to see the opinions of others as a valuable tool, but that only God can tell you ultimate truth.


    7.  God’s demand for glory is not pride because He is not in competition with anyone or anything. He is infinitely more than we are. He is more powerful, more loving, more righteous, more just, He is infinitely worthy of praise. That is not a pride issue.

  13. 2. Read or listen to The Great Sin and share a few things that stand out to you.


    Lewis writes that now he has arrived at the center of Christian morals, that the essential vice and the utmost evil, is Pride. Pride is what leads to every other vice. Pride also involves competitiveness – it is being in competition with every one else’s pride. Pride, for example, takes no pleasure in being beautiful or rich, but rather in being richer or more beautiful than another. “It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.” Lewis also says that pride always means enmity: enmity between men and enmity to God.

    His discussion of how can one be so religious and yet eaten up with pride was so revealing. Lewis says that they are worshipping an imaginary God – they theoretically admit they are nothing in this phantom God’s presence and at the same time, imagine themselves far better than ordinary people and how much God approves of them. And whenever we think that our religious life is making us good and better than others, we are being acted on by the devil. Lewis says, “It is a terrible thing that the worst of all the vices can smuggle itself into the very center of our religious life.” I understand how he compares other vices that come from our “animal nature” to this: of course we wouldn’t imagine ourselves to be “good” and so religious if we were struggling with lust or lying, but pride in our religion, in our good works, in our morality, is so easy to fall into. We forget where we came from and what we were saved from.

    Pride comes direct from Hell. Pride can even be used to overcome other vices because pride tells us that those things are “beneath us”. Lewis says, “The devil laughs. He is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride.” Lewis calls Pride a spiritual cancer that eats up the possibility of ever experiencing love, contentment, or common sense.







  14. 3. Lewis asks us to ask ourselves: “How much does it bother me when people snub me or refuse to take notice of me?” How would you answer?


    I thought about this when I first read this chapter. This situation can be painful; it depends on the people involved and the situation. I can feel sorry for myself, feel left-out, lonely, hurt. Many times upon further reflection, people probably didn’t intend to ignore me; it wasn’t intentional. It’s the way I perceived it. I’ll share an example but it’s kind of embarrassing to me now. About a year ago when I was in my Sunday school class, and I struggle with feeling really connected to the other women in the class, because there are groups: the older women who are widowed, the women who are single or divorced, the college-aged women. So we were asked to divide into small groups to talk about something, and it seemed as if everyone moved into their groups before I did and I looked around and everyone was already talking in their groups and no one asked me to join their group. Now, I know I could’ve moved into any group and been accepted, but right at that moment I felt sorry for myself and felt like I was going to cry and so I walked out and left church and drove to a nearby park and walked around and cried, feeling sorry for myself. Was that pride?

    There are other situations where I can think: why is she getting all the attention? Why did they pick her to do this or that; I could have done that too, or why does this person always talk on and on about themselves and they don’t ask me about what’s going on with me? Feeling snubbed, like no one’s paying attention to me….I can see the pride there. I first thought about the idols of approval/affirmation and the bad fruit they can cause: jealousy, resentment, even anger. If Lewis is right, then Pride is the root of all of our idols?

      1. Dee, I remember reading in a book once that pride and self-pity are “twin sisters” – they are both “me-focused”. I think I was feeling sensitive that day, but leaving didn’t help. Probably prideful thoughts can ensue: I would never treat anyone like that, I’m better than they are….

      2. Dee, I’m using this space here to explain that when I use internet explorer, which I always do, yesterday and today the box where I can post is absent. Yesterday I had to use Safari in order to post. I think we call it the “comment box”.

    1. Susan, yes pride is the root of all of our idols. Pride is what caused Lucifer to fall and what caused Eve to sin. If we were able to get rid of pride 100%  we would be perfect and that is 100% impossible because the more we are aware of it the more we see it in almost everything we do, say or think. And if we were to get rid of 99.9999999% there would still be that grain that keeps us from perfection (probably the grain that momentarily thinks “I finally did it” it’s the “I” that gets us every time).

  15. 8.  Tim Keller. Our problem is neither low self esteem or high self esteem, the problem is our ego. If it functioned correctly, we would no more think about it than we think about a body part that is not hurting. No one goes around thinking hoe great their elbow feels. We only think about our self esteem because it is defective, as an outworking of our ego. Goal is to not be dependent on what others think of you, or even what you think of you. Depend instead on God’s opinion of you. The moment you trusted Jesus, God says you are beloved. In Christ you are judged prior to any performance. So we can do things in Him free of ego.

    He said it loads better than my summary. Well worth the listen.

  16. This one hits home in so many ways. I have listened to the book twice in the last month and read the chapter again this week and I thought “I’ve got this”, yet I am still recognizing horrible pride that I have been having at work recently.

    A new corporation has taken over the hospital where I work. We have new management that has hired a few of their friends from their previous place of employment. Recently there have been serious issues between my dept and the OR  that have called for a committee to be formed (the national corporation has gotten involved it has been so bad). I was lied to about various things regarding their choice of representatives from my dept. and when they announced who they had chosen, I was so mad. They chose (in my opinion) uneducated, brown-nosers who were going to make us look ignorant and weren’t going to offer any intelligent suggestions.  What helped reinforce that belief was many people in my dept. agreed with me. I have been very quiet at work the last couple of weeks, just doing my job, not interacting with people unless I have to, not going above and beyond…pretty much pouting because we weren’t given any choice and I obviously wasn’t even considered. Nothing but pride there!

    I recently listened to a Focus on the Family  broadcast whose guest was Deborah Pegues. She authored a book called 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue and one days is to thank God for EVERY situation that happens to you instead of seeing the negative. One example was if someone cuts you off in traffic maybe you were saved from an accident further on. It doesn’t matter if you can think of a positive just know that the situation was God ordained. It showed me the pride that is there to think that I know better than God what should or shouldn’t happen in my life.

    1. Dawn, I understand about your work situation….the hospital where I work was also taken over by another hospital and lots of changes have happened and more are on the way; in fact, we just had a meeting yesterday about how our jobs will change! It’s so easy for me to have the attitude that I don’t like the way “they” do things!

  17. Dee, I noticed that there isn’t any way to edit your comment after it has been posted. We used to have a few minutes to look it over and make any changes that were needed. Was this intentional?

  18. Had trouble with a long post for this question so I hope I remember a little bit about the point I was making….

    3. Lewis asks us to ask ourselves: “How much does it bother me when people snub me or refuse to take notice of me?” How would you answer? 

    I guess, I am really human here. I think it bothers me a lot. Heres a story…


    Last year a friend/former colleague nominated me for a national award and I won our regions place. I was New England’s 2017 Geoscience Teacher of the year. It was something she kept telling me she wanted to do and then it finally happened. I sent the email to my director and he congratulated me and sent it to our principal. The principal put it on the school FB page and Tweeted it as well. If you weren’t on FB or Twitter you would not have seen it and many didn’t. No one in the science department knew except one of my close friends; I wasn’t going to toot my own horn! I figured our director might want to be the one who did that. Months went by and nothing….I decided to forget it and just relish the moment for myself.

    October came and I got the hard copy of the announcement. The director was planning to attend a school board meeting that week and I offered the magazine to him to help build his case to implement a new ninth grade earth science course. He declined. I was beginning to think it really wasn’t a big deal and I was making too much of it.

    A few weeks later my former director was visiting and I knew she would care so I shared the magazine with her. She was astonished that she hadn’t heard about it and asked me if anyone had heard! Again, I was feeling self conscious by bringing it up, but I knew she would like to know. She asked to borrow the magazine and next thing I know I am being honored at a school board meeting! Finally someone recognized that I was being awarded an honor, being a woman in science, for a little small school district in NH! The science department teachers were upset that they never were told (we like to celebrate accomplishments!)

    Anyway, I guess I wanted to be noticed and definitely felt slighted by several people who, in my opinion, should have cared about one of their science teachers receiving a national award! So human, right?

    4. Do you feel rivalry with those who have the same talent you have, but seem to be noticed more? 

    Oh yes…especially in dance 😔.

    5. Why is it that pride keeps us from both others and God?

    I think it’s because it is all about us; ourselves. Christ wants us to love Him and others. Pride turns the finger back to me, not toward someone else.

    I wonder though, is it okay to be “proud of your children?” That’s a feat in my home, but I do think I am proud of each child (even Sarah) for at least one accomplishment or action. Our second oldest has a kind heart, our youngest is determined, the oldest is carefree (hard for me), and Sarah has been courageous through 2 babies by herself.  Is this okay? I think when I compare to others is when it can be a bad thing.

    1. Laura, in regards to being proud of your children I like what Lewis says, “Very often, in such sentences , the phrase “is proud of” means ‘has a warm-hearted admiration for’.”  I think where we get into trouble is being proud because it makes us look better and and we use the praise to do so.  I had a friend of my Moms scold me when I told her I was proud of my kids, saying I shouldn’t be proud, but rather say I am pleased.  In reading what Lewis says I really meant “a warm-hearted admiration”.

      1. That’s so good Sharon! Thank you!

    2. Laura, first of all, I remember you telling us about your award, and I’m proud of you! You were honored for your honest hard work in your field, your continuing to further your own education and skills so that you can be a better teacher. On page 125, Lewis begins to explain some possible misunderstandings, and the first one is: Pleasure in being praised is not Pride. He writes, “For here the pleasure lies not in what you are but in the fact that you have pleased someone you wanted to please.” I believe that you want to please your students, your school, by doing your best. The contrast is: “What a fine person I must be to have done it” and delighting more in yourself than the praise.

      Lewis also talks about saying that we are proud of a child, and he says it depends upon what we mean by that. If we have a “warm-hearted admiration for” that is okay; it is only pride when we feel distinguished because of their accomplishments, when we “put on airs”. You are recognizing qualities in each of your children and admiring them.

      1. Thanks for reminding me of the text! I only read this chapter once and didn’t listen (I usually read and listen at least one time each). When I went back after Sharon posted, I saw the answer right away (of course)!

        You are right about the award…another way to look at it is I am always trying to make sure I am not bored with my content and delivery of it, so that students will (perhaps) not be bored as well. Education is an active sport these days! Thanks for your kind words!

  19. Tuesday

    5.  Why is it that pride keeps us from both others and God?

    Pride, being competitive, wants to be number one and if anyone is richer, smarter or more clever, they become a rival and an enemy…which includes God.  Quoting Lewis “In God you come up against something immeasurably superior to yourself.”  

    6.  What does Lewis call the “real black diabolical pride” and why?

    “When you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think.”  Because all that he’s done has been to satisfy himself.  All others and what they have done means nothing to him!

    7.  Why is God’s demand for glory not pride?

    God isn’t worried about His dignity/value and therefore is not competitive.  “He wants us to know Him and give ourselves to Him.”  Lewis goes on to say “that if we really get into any kind of touch with Him we will – in fact, be humble”, which will bring glory to God.

  20. 6. What does Lewis call the “real black diabolical pride” and why? 
    Lewis says looking down on someone because you think you are better than them is the worst sort of pride.

    7. Why is God’s demand for glory not pride?
    God wants us to know Him. Knowing Him means we want to please Him. We become humble. Pleasing someone means forgetting yourself.

  21. 4. Do you feel rivalry with those who have the same talent you have, but seem to be noticed more?


    I admit that I have felt “sibling rivalry” because one of my sister’s seems to be my dad’s favorite. I don’t mean that I feel as if he doesn’t love me, but this sister has always been regarded as the “smart, savvy one”. We are both nurses, and I can give advice but it would be followed when she advised the same thing; however, she hasn’t been in a patient care role for many many years, as I have been, so I consider myself the “expert” (pride). I want my opinion to carry the same weight. Sometimes when our Sunday school leader is absent, she will ask one of the ladies to open the class and I’ve often thought, “Why doesn’t she ever ask me to open….I could do it!”

      1. Yes I do, Dee! I would ask them privately and give them some time to think about it. I see the pride in myself though because the “I could to it” is a looking at myself and not dependence on God; it’s thinking that I have the ability. I used to think I’d like to lead a Bible study, until I did one with a few friends and I was the unofficial leader. I found myself getting impatient with one woman who just couldn’t see things the way I did! It’s one thing to be knowledgeable enough to teach, but I think I lacked a servant’s heart and humility.

        1. I’m still not seeing the comment box!

  22. Testing to see if I can edit.

  23. No, I couldn’t. Using Firefox browser on my PC.

  24. Dee,

    I’m still following this study back here in the shadows.   Thank you so very much for providing this.  Sorry this post is a bit long.   This was such a life-giving message.

    #8.   Tim Keller’s message on self-forgetfulness was particularly good.  I listened as I went to bed last night and again this early morning.   His explanation of Paul’s saying, “Let’s have no more pride,”  tells us that the word pride here is a word that literally means to be over-inflated beyond its proper size.      This made me think of the character of Eustace in C.S. Lewis’s Voyage of the Dawn Treader.    The boy Eustace turned into a dragon and there is a scene in that book that has often brought me to tears.  It is an allegory of our pride.    I quote from a Desiring God  article:    (https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/my-dragon-skin-torn-off)

    The scene starts with Eustace, a rotten boy, who has found himself in possession of a large fortune. He imagines the life and comforts he could now enjoy, and in his comforts he falls asleep with his treasure. When he awakes, Eustace is no longer a boy but a dragon, the outward manifestation of his inner greed and selfishness. ……

    In mercy and compassion, Aslan arrives, and leads the dragoned Eustace to a garden on top of the mountain, and then to a well at the center of the garden.  ……..

    “You will have to let me undress you,” says Aslan the Lion.
    So desperate was Eustace, even his fear of Aslan’s claws was not enough to stop him from laying down flat on his back. Laying anxious on the ground, here’s what Eustace felt.

    The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. . . .
    Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off — just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt — and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me — I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .
    After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me . . . in new clothes.

    Other significant points from Tim Keller:

    * Paul says here that he cares very little about what others think about him and he cares very little about what he thinks about himself.

    * Paul’s self-regard is not tied to that.   He stops the game of low and high self esteem.

    * Paul calls himself the chief of sinners, yet he has incredible confidence.

    * Paul doesn’t connect his sin to his identity.

    * Paul is saying that he has come to the place where he is not thinking about himself anymore.

    * Paul used a courtroom analogy and it is as if every day we are in a courtroom on trila and everything you do is stamping approval or disapproval about who you are.

    * What we’re all looking for is an ultimate verdict and Paul is resting in that ultimate verdict and the Lord’s opinion is the only one that counts.

    * Only in Him do you get the verdict BEFORE the performance, so I perform on the basis of the verdict (not the other way around).



  25. No comment box in Safari so had to switch to Chrome!

  26. Thursday

    9.  Have you experienced the above of choosing to act loving and then experiencing genuine love for that person?  If so share.

    My husband and I were struggling with a pastor we had and we seeked counsel from a wise man of God.  He challenged us to do two things.  One, pray for our pastor on a daily basis and the second, pray that God would help us to love him.  It’s advice I use to this day and God was and is faithful.

    10.  Read or listen to the chapter on charity and share anything that stands out to you.

    Love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion.  It is a state not of the feelings but of the will.”   

  27. The comment box is back in Safari!!

  28. Been gone on a conference so catching up here.
    3. Lewis asks us to ask ourselves: “How much does it bother me when people snub me or refuse to take notice of me?” How would you answer?

    This has been a long, journey for me as for many years, I believed in the lie that it was not pride that caused hurt feelings in me when people snub me or refuse to take notice of me. I erred more on the side that people were mean, envious or just jealous. I nursed (pardon the pun) those feelings of hurt and justified myself. Only by the grace of God and some very painful experiences that I realized I was a proud person.
    4. Do you feel rivalry with those who have the same talent you have, but seem to be noticed more?
    I don’t struggle as much anymore as the Holy Spirit keeps this in check. Some days it is harder but the Lord always helps me when I need rescuing.
    5. Why is it that pride keeps us from both others and God?
    Pride is so focus on self it is hard to see others and to see God. 

  29. 8. If you listened to the above, share your notes or comments.


    As I listened to this Keller sermon I realized I have the book called nearly the same thing that I purchased several years back. I went to the book and sure enough it was the same dialogue basically. I’m not sure when I realized  The point he is trying to make in my own life, but it seems like I was a teenager… I would go through bouts of ups and downs just like every other teenager would and didn’t know what to do about that (during the downtimes).  Somehow I intrinsically knew that if I took the focus off myself and put it on other people that the down times would turn into better times. I don’t think that it was anything that I ever learned from anyone but I just think it is something that might be within us all? Every time I did that I came out of the down times happier.

    1. Laura,

      Thanks for your thoughts on Keller’s sermon. I wasn’t able to listen to it. I do agree with you about focusing on others during the down times. I have had similar experience and I think God extends His blessings in some way (not that we earn it by good works) because we obeyed His Word. ” Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

  30. Wednesday

    8.  If you listened to the above, share your notes or comments.

    First of all I really encourage y’all to listen to this sermon…it is good!  I’m just going to quote one thing that really stood to me as the above notes covered it well. “The essence of gospel humility is not thinking more of yourself or thinking less of yourself, BUT thinking of yourself less.”  Thanks so much Dee for sharing this😊

    The comment box in Safari is gone again!😏

  31. 9.  I couldn’t think of anything till I read Sharon’s comments. I have prayed for several people over the years that I struggled with. Can’t say I ever got warm fuzzies for them, but I sincerely wanted good for them.


    10.  Chapter nine, Charity. Liking something is neither a sin nor a virtue anymore than a dislike is. It is what we do about it. Good and evil both increase at compound interest. An apparent trivial indulgence today is a loss from with the enemy can launch a major attack. Ouch. It is so easy to give in just a little here or there. Another thing that struck me was saying to act as though you did. I’ve thought of that like forms for cement. I put up the forms by prayer and by acting correctly, and steadfastly leave them in place until the Lord has filled them with the real and lasting thing. At the proper time the forms are no longer needed. I won’t be acting as though; it will be true in my life.


    11.  Feeling affectionate probably benefits the one feeling it as much or more than the one it is poured out on. I think Lewis is right. Our feelings are just that…feelings. It is when we act on them that it really matters.

  32. Friday

    11.  Lewis said that some people are cold naturally and don’t naturally feel affectionate towards others – and that in itself isn’t a sin.  Thoughts?

    I wonder how natural it is to be cold or could it be learned as well?  Being a military brat and an MK I guarded myself from feelings of affection because we moved around so much.  Sadly, it carried over into my adulthood and therefore I find it hard.

    12.  Lewis also says, however, they are not off the hook, “liking” someone is a help toward being charitable toward them, but that they have a responsibility toward acting loving toward others, and the feelings will folllow.  Thoughts?

    Continuing from my answer above, I know that just because it may be hard, I must become vulnerable and obedient in loving others.  It is very true that the feelings will follow.  I really liked what Mary said, “feeling affection probably benefits the one feeling it as much or more than the one it is poured on.”  Never thought about it that way!


  33. 2. Read or listen to The Great Sin and share a few things that stand out to you.

    It is so good to be back with you all! I am in a hotel in Oklahoma with my family. We are spending time with my step daughter and her husband. I love and miss you. This is so helpful for me. I tend to bend on the side of vanity and overly looking down on myself-false humility.

    I loved this, maybe because I default to a don’t praise me posture as true humility but it isn’t and I do enjoy praise-it motivates me often. To say all of vanity is wrong means I shouldn’t accept God’s praise of me all throughout Scripture. Pleasure in being praised (vanity) isn’t pride, it still means you care about others via what they think so while it is a form of pride it isn’t deadly yet. It’s deadly if I start delighting in myself more than the praise.

    A truly humble person is one who is cheerful, genuinely interested in what you are saying and won’t be thinking of himself at all.  My experience is that this is a maturing process as He replaces more and more of me, and I am certainly not as mature as I want to be rather a baby still. I do know the more time I spend with Him the more His love will spill out onto others. I am praying He will help me turn from the sin that mimics this in my life.  🙂

  34. This might be a rabbit trail and I hesitate because it is personal and this is online but He amazes me-as He is taking me through deeper heart surgery in this hard season of life lately-(and yes I DO hate it when the rocks get in the way of intimacy for there has been a rock in this season!) He ALWAYS includes Dee’s blog as one of his tools. 🙂 🙂 So I have to share what He brought to mind in regard to the pride in my heart for I am in awe of His mercy and patience in my life as He transforms me!

    I have discovered I literally take on my shoulders the pain and struggles of others including my family to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. This results in conversations in an attempt to fix them. That isn’t truly loving, that is a form of pride. satan is sneaky but while only in the beginning, God is in the process of freeing me just in helping me see this. So while I thought I was truly giving up my life for others-true humility- by not thinking of myself , not caring for myself and fretting about them; out of my mouth comes a comment, or sarcasm, or a lengthy conversation in a clumsy attempt to save them from themselves.  Control has become an idol I have been desiring more than God.

    While this turning is still fresh, God is helping me to accept others as they are and helping me to stop seeing myself as savior for that shows I don’t really believe He can!  So praying for them is how I have been entrusting them to Him-but it is a process for my sin nature rears it’s head daily when things happen with my family and I try to control in sneaky ways-even convincing myself I am just helping! I am learning to let them know my concern, if it is wise in timing to do so, and then let it go.

    I really do believe that true humility isn’t something we decide to do. To genuinely be interested in what others are saying and doing-putting their interests above our own. It comes from having more of Him and less of me..easy to go around saying though. I have found the “decision” that needs to be made comes in being willing to be shed first, and when my heart isn’t as willing and I am pushing back His Spirit inside, I am finding that God often melts my hard heart via His spirit through a wise counselor, His word, circumstances, and in other ways. Amazing Grace, how can it be?

    Lots of thoughts, albeit clumsy-hope this encourages you in Him somehow. 🙂


  35. 10. Read or listen to the chapter on charity and share anything that stands out to you.


    “The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he ‘likes’ them: the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on—including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning.”


    “Good and evil both increase at compound interest.”

  36. 11. Lewis said that some people are cold by temperament and don’t naturally feel affectionate toward others — and that in itself isn’t a sin. Thoughts?
    He says to not create insincere feelings; manufactured and not genuine. If you act as if you like/love someone then the feeling is formed regardless of whether you are a naturally affectionate person or not.

    I guess I agree? You can’t help your natural character. It is given to you by God. Some of us are more loving (at least outwardly) than others. I don’t think that’s a sin.

    12. Lewis also says, however, they are not off the hook, “liking” someone is a help toward being charitable toward them, but that they have a responsibility toward acting loving toward others, and the feelings will follow. Thoughts?
    I would agree with this because scripture says to love our neighbors. It doesn’t say they have to love us or even be kind to us. It is our job.

  37. 12.  I just read Ann Voskamp, and she said that the evidence of maturity is responsibility, response-ability, the ability to make the right response at the right time. These two seemed to fit together well. It is our response to our feelings that matter, and as we mature, we decide to act more loving.


    13.  We ill treat because we hate, and then we hate because they have been debased in our sight by having been ill treated. I know that the more I allow myself to complain, the more to complain about I can find. And the more I find to complain about, the more bitterly I can complain. We are a spiraling people, and starting on a wrong path leads to a lot more wrong.

  38. I just finished reading this week’s chapter, Lewis’ “The Great Sin”.  w-o-w.  After all my hair pulling & head scratching throughout this book, finally a chapter I can say I completely understand.  When I wasn’t underlining something, I was marking it up & writing my own little “yes”es & “true”s & more.  This is my favorite chapter in the book thus far, one that is just so packed full of truth & conviction!

  39. Susan, this is in reply to your story above re dividing up into groups, you feeling left out & leaving church to go walk in the park & cry.  (I clicked on “reply” but it’s not responding for some reason)  Anyway, as I read your story I could see myself possibly doing that also.  Rejection is a hard one for me in life, maybe because I’ve felt that too often growing up (as described above)…someone else always ‘stealing the show’, whether or not it was deserved.  What happened to you could have just been the result of how you were feeling that day too, maybe it was a day you were feeling really down or vulnerable or needy, hoping for a ray of sunshine somewhere.  I’m sorry that happened to you.  I’m sorry someone didn’t “catch” that, get up off their chair, put their arm around you & invite you to their table.  I wish I had been that person.  I do not know you personally, but you are a treasure here.

  40. 5. Why is it that pride keeps us from both others and God? Lewis spent a lot of time explaining how pride is competitive; so it would keep us from others as we are too busy and preoccupied competing with them rather than trying to be a genuine friend; always comparing ourselves to others and looking down on others is not the way to really care for others. Lewis says pride always means enmity – it is enmity, and not only between man and man, but enmity to God. This is very hard-hitting. I often tend to compare myself to others….I never thought of doing that as enmity, but it is. It means seeing the other as my enemy that I am competing with. OH.Lewis writes that it is enmity with God because of course, God is immeasurably superior to us, so what do we do with that? He says that people often create an imaginary God, because if you don’t understand that, then you don’t really know God at all. 6. What does Lewis call the “real black diabolical pride” and why? It is when you look down on others to the point of not caring what they think of you. The reason for not caring what they think of you is because you think so little of them that you view their opinion as worthless. You feel yourself above feeling any pleasure in being praised, as if it were some sort of embarrassment. The opinions of others matter not at all, because they are nothing to you. 7. Why is God’s demand for glory not pride? God is not offended by our pride because He Himself is proud, and therefore demands that we be humble. It is because He wants to give us Himself, wants us to really know Him. Lewis describes it as God wanting to bring us to the point where we can take off the “silly, ugly, fancy dress in which we have all got ourselves up and are strutting about like the little idiots we are….with all the posing and posturing.” God knows He has to help us get rid of our false self – the “look at me”, so that we can get near to Him.