C.S. Lewis is one of the authors that has consistently challenged me the most. The way that he looks at and frames Christianity has been refreshing and has caused me to see things differently. As I was studying for the message that I am giving on Galatians 5:26-6:5 tonight I ran across a quote from The Screwtape Letters that was so poignant that I wanted to share it. In this passage Paul is exploring the way that the gospel functions horizontally. We often limit the gospel to restoring our relationship with God (which it does), but the gospel also frees us to be made right with one another.

I’m grateful that this passage unintentionally (coincidence…?) fell right near Valentine’s Day. I’m convinced that we have such a marred view of love, and that what we often call love is simply lust. Read this excerpt from Lewis’ work. He is absolutely brilliant in the way that he exposes that what we often refer to as love is simply hunger… we are feeding on the other person, trying to be filled up by them, and having them define who we are.

I feign that devils can, in a spiritual sense, eat one another; and us. Even in human life we have seen the passion to dominate, almost to digest, one’s fellow; to make his whole intellectual and emotional life merely an extension of one’s own — to hate one’s hatreds and resent one’s grievances and indulge one’s egoism through him as well as through oneself. His own little store of passion must of course be suppressed to make room for ours. If he resists this suppression he is being very selfish.

On earth this desire is often called “love”. In Hell I feign that they recognise it as hunger. But there the hunger is more ravenous and a fuller satisfaction is possible. There, I suggest, the stronger spirit — there are perhaps no bodies to impede the operation — can really and irrevocably suck the weaker into itself and permanently gorge its own being on the weaker’s outraged individuality. It is (I feign) for this that devils desire human souls and the souls of one another. It is for this that Satan desires all his own followers and all the sons of Eve and all the host of heaven. His dream is of the day when all shall be inside him and all that says “I” can say it only through him. This, I surmise, is the bloated-spider parody, the only imitation he can understand, of that unfathomed bounty whereby God turns tools into servants and servants into sons, so that they may be at least re-united to Him in the perfect freedom of a love offered from the height of the utter individualities which he has liberated them to be. – C.S. Lewis

So, tonight I’m going to propose that the gospel actually frees us up to be able to love another person in a way that nothing else in the world does. My ability to believe and trust in the gospel is absolutely 100% essential to my ability to love another person.

Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear from you.