confusion central
if you’re here, you are SO lost.

Cowardice & Hell

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

Perhaps Lewis could be interpreted to be restating Revelation 21:8a here – “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
Fascinating, isn’t it? Cowardice is listed above unbelief, general badness, murder, sexual immorality, the occult, idolaters and liars.
What is it about frightened reticence that God finds so despicable? Perhaps it’s some reflection of what we see in our own hearts and minds. We disdain to befriend those who will not stand up for us when we’re not around. We despise the man who runs from a fight. And we have not the slightest use for any kind of pet that stays comfortably curled under its rock, unwilling to emerge because “it might be frightening.”

Lewis speaks powerfully on the fear of love. And he’s absolutely right. In loving anything or anyone, you put a significant portion of your heart on the line. But, Lewis emphasizes, it is always worth it, as the alternative is to lock your heart up, bury it with your selfish pride, and wait for it to change into an unbreakable horror, surely one of the most frightening monsters in the world.

Agree?  Disagree?  Is love always worth it?  Or are there cases where it is just better not to love at all rather than to risk serious injury?


11 Responses to “Cowardice & Hell”

  1. Wow, that’s an amazing post Lydia. I’m going to be thinking about it for a while.

    As for the question, I think that love is always worth it, but in some situations you can love without putting your heart on the line.

  2. Love is not always worth it. If the other person (whether we’re talking guy/girl love, or simply a friendship love, it doesn’t matter) either couldn’t care less, or wants to do you wrong, it’s not worth it. If you’re going to be hurt more (by either yourself or another person) than you will love, it’s not worth it.

    However, there are times that it is worth it. Nothing will be perfect, and there might be times you feel like wringing someone’s neck! But… God created Love, and therefore, like all pure things God created, it has a place in the world.

  3. I agree with Matthew.
    Love is always worth it. If God simply created love as Sarah says, then we are in a sad state of affairs, as though love were a rock to lift and a weight to bear.
    But God IS love. In loving we can experience God and what He has in store for us. No matter how small or big the love you experience may be, if it is a full love (ie, not a completely self centered love but God centered love) then it will be worth it.
    I don’t really see how what the other person wants makes your love “worth it” or not. Many couldn’t care less about God, and many want only good for themselves (read: evil or disdain for others), but our Lord certainly found our love worth it.
    I think He is primarily looking for others willing to take that terrible risk as well. For as Lewis and Einstein both note: “God is an inveterate gambler.”

  4. I put that little clause in there – “if it is a full love” because I don’t always think what people call “love” is really that.
    Many times people “love” others exclusively to fulfill a need. That kind of love, though a necessary first step to some loves, like that of a dependent baby on mother, if it never matures, it has very little to do with “love” in the sense that I think you are talking about.
    It is only concerned with “how you make me feel” ie, selfish.
    That isn’t so much a worthy love but a hungry demon.

  5. Love is not always worth it. If the other person (whether we’re talking guy/girl love, or simply a friendship love, it doesn’t matter) either couldn’t care less, or wants to do you wrong, it’s not worth it. If you’re going to be hurt more (by either yourself or another person) than you will love, it’s not worth it. I disagree, it’s always worth it to love. Always. Whether or not the love is reciprocated, it’s always worth it. God loves the whole world and there are several people who don’t love Him back. Who hurt Him, but He loves them anyway.

    It’s always right to love. Always.

  6. Wow! I have LOT of catching up to do. Sorry guys…

    Sarah – so basically, your assertion is that the chance God built into the world and the unbalanced possibility (risk almost always outweighs gain) is sometimes off? I’d agree that this isn’t an invitation to dive headfirst into a ton of crazy relationships. 😉 But it is a stern admonishment not to hold back from those friendships because you’re afraid of being hurt.

    Matthew – stages of love solve the problem of putting your heart on the line. If you put trust in someone little by little (as is QUITE advisable, lol) you shouldn’t end up putting your heart on the line for someone who’s just not interested.

    I’ll respond to the rest later! Thanks for reading, y’all. I will have to come around & comment on everyone’s blogs in a little bit here. 🙂

  7. Ya’ll seem to disagree with me!

    Let me share where I’m coming from.

    For 15 years I lived in a house full of anger, rage, abuse, and horror. I have been betrayed, abandoned, and abused by the very people who should have been my closest friends and companions.

    Is it worth it to make yourself vulnerable to such a person (people) by loving them? Does God command you to draw close to a person who abuses you?


    By simply taking a healthy step back, and distancing yourself from such a person, you can avoid being hurt so badly.

    Yes God loves the whole world, and in the same way, we should love everyone… but there’s a difference between that type of love, and the type of love I thought Lydia was referring to.

    Maybe I’m just seeing it a different way than the rest of you are.

    So no, HM, it hasn’t always been worth it for me in my life. And I don’t think that you have an adequate understanding of my situation to make such a broad blanket statement.

  8. Ok…unique perspective here. There’s no way in the place mentioned in this post’s title that I would ever condone “drawing near” to or loving someone who abuses you. That isn’t what Lewis – or I – am saying at all.
    I understand well that perfectly awful things happen to perfectly undeserving people. There are no two ways around this, and I’ve encountered it more times than I care to share.

    However, I get the distinct impression you’re taking this out of context. No one on here thinks that you need to politely submit to an abuser. To say such a thing would be nothing short of insane. The issue here is whether or not to extend your heart toward others ::who earn your trust:: instead of locking your heart away from everyone and everything. I understand it may be harder to extend that trust after any form of abuse, but to refuse even the slightest possibility of putting yourself at risk is to cut yourself off from one of the greatest sources of joy available between human beings.

    /lecture. I understand what you’re saying.

  9. Woah, Sarah, I’m sorry, I never meant to attack you. I’m not saying to place yourself in an abusive situation. But, many martyrs who were beaten turned around and loved their enemies. It’s only through God’s eyes, that you can love an abuser. I’m not saying that you should go around looking for abuse or anything like that. I can see where your coming from. I apologize once again for coming across as attacking you, I never meant to do that. 😦

  10. Okay, I see Lydia’s intent better now. With the qualifier of “those who earn your trust” then yeah, love is worth it. Refusing to have close friendships is unhealthy.

  11. I certainly do NOT want to belittle anything that has happened to Sarah, but I still think it is worth it.
    Do you think that we haven’t betrayed God or abused Him? We killed Him.

    And we each, in our way, some far more than others, have been betrayed and abused. Though few may understand your situation – I won’t pretend to – I think you will find you are not alone in being abused. God gave us mouths to speak out against violence and to Praise in Joy. Each in their place. I think it very brave that you can talk about it.

    I am absolutely NOT saying that you should subject yourself to that environment (unless you feel lead to it – eg. a mission to China) or even be around those who do that. Often though we may not have a choice, particularly if its family.
    You may have to distance yourself from them for your own safety.

    But in the end, that is why forgiveness is such a big part of Christian love.

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