Wednesday, November 08 2006
"The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less." Mere Christianity
There are two kinds of pretending in life: one good and the other bad. The bad kind is when, as an adult, I pretend to be someone I am not, with no intention of ever developing the character qualities of the person I am pretending to be. Take for example the kind of person who claims to be a Christian but who attends church only to make business contacts. This is a bad kind of pretense.
However, there is a good kind of pretending. When children pretend to be like grown-ups and "play house", that is a good kind of pretense. In that situation children are trying on adult roles for size; they are actually preparing to be the mature people they will one day be in actuality.
Every time a Christian sincerely prays the Lord's Prayer, he or she is engaging in the good kind of pretending. When we pray "Our Father . . ." we are dressing up like Christ, God's only Son. We are pretending to be like him, even though we are not completely like him yet. Our pretending helps us to become more like him so that one day we will be entirely conformed to his image.
The same is true when we perform acts of love toward others even though we don't have loving feelings for them. This is a good kind of pretending. We are pretending to be like Christ and show the love he would show to others if he were in our shoes. If we pretend long enough and imaginatively enough, eventually our feelings will catch up with our actions and we will be loving others in the full, Christ-like sense.
"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:2).