Friday, November 1, 2019

Rats in the basement

    Somewhere in his writings CS Lewis spoke of “rats in the basement.” He meant that when difficult circumstances came into our lives and we reacted poorly, it was as if there were rats in the basement when the lights were turned on. It wasn’t that the rats weren’t there all along, but when the light was turned on they were there to be seen scurrying for cover. The fault for the rats being in the basement was not the fault of the person who turned on the light, but the home owner who was either unaware of them or hadn’t dealt with them.

     When someone “turns on the light” in our “basement” the “rats”, our bad habits, lack of character, deliberate sins, become obvious. We have a tendency to blame the person who turned on the light for what is exposed, when obviously that person was only the occasion to show our faults.
This is related to the Christian doctrine of sanctification. Some groups believe that just one (or two) big spiritual experiences will conquer our sinful human nature. Others believe in sinless or Christian Perfection that once we are sanctified we will not sin any longer.

     I remember Dr. Bob Evans, the founder of Greater Europe Mission, speaking in the Tyndale chapel. He mentioned these ideas about sanctification and then as he would so inimitably speak he said simply, “Well, I sure haven’t attained it.”

     My experience is that my "rats" are still very much alive and very active. No matter how much I pray or plead, work or sweat my sinful human nature is still there. I do alright until the “light” is turned on, then I fail miserably.

     Salvation is all of grace. “By grace are you saved through faith and not of yourselves that no one should boast.”

     Perhaps I am making more progress than I seem to be to myself. I’m not sure, but I am also reminded of St. Augustine and how he felt that he was further from God the longer he was a Christian. Perhaps we only really perceive the distance between the holy God and ourselves as we age.

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