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