More Than I Know

Monday, November 5, 2007

For the opposition of sin is faith and never virtue, and we live in a world which believes that self-control can make us virtuous. But that's not how it works. How many men and women we have encountered, of great personal virtue and moral rectitude, convince of their own righteousness, who have also been totally insensitive to the needs of others....

To quote H.A. Williams again,

When I attempt to make myself virtuous, the me I can thus organize and discipline is no more than the me of which I am aware. And it is precisely the equation of my total self with this one small part of it which is the root cause of all sin. This is the fundamental mistake often made in exhortations to repentance and amendment. They attempt to confirm me in my lack of faith by getting me to organize the self I know against the self I do not know....

When I urge that we abandon our rigid self-control I am not suggesting that we abandon ourselves into hysteria or licentiousness, uninhibited temper tantrums or self-indulgence. Anything but. However, when we try to control our lives totally with the self we think we know, "the result is that growth in self-awareness is inhibited." And, Williams continues, "there is a sort of devilish perversity in this organizing me not to sin by means of the very thing which ensures that I shall. Faith, on the other hand, consists in the awareness that I am more than I know." Such awareness came to the prodigal when he realized that he was more than a starving swineherd. What led him home was his becoming aware that he was also his father's son. Yet his awareness of sonship was enough to make him journey homewards.

~Madeline L'Engle, Walking on Water


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