Yeah, I’ve Been That Guy

[This first appeared as a guest post I wrote last year for Laura Martin at her excellent blog Enough Light.]

***

In The Four Loves C.S. Lewis discusses people who act in unlovable ways and notes, “They seal up the very fountain for which they are thirsty.” He explains that they want love and affection, but their behavior shuts themselves off from receiving it from others. I’ve been that guy.

  • I have lashed out angrily at petty inconveniences and when a friend has lovingly and wisely tried to help me see the other person’s view, I’ve rejected their insights and then – what’s worse – turned my anger against that friend for not taking my side.
  • I have sulked at minor accusations and slights to my character and when a friend has assured me that no one who knows me well believes those accusations, shut that friend down as not understanding at all what I am going through.
  • I have covered myself with self-pity like a rash from head to toe and when a friend has offered to help me see a way out of whatever was bothering me, rejected that help because what I wanted instead was someone to help me pick at the scabs.

Yeah, I’ve been that guy, the one who seals up “the very fountain”, the fountain of affection, friendship and love for which I thirst. Even worse, I used to be that way with Jesus, the best friend I could hope for. (John 15:15.)

Drinking From the True Fountain

Similar to how we shut out friends, people can seal themselves off from the fountain of life himself, Jesus. (Psalm 36:9; John 4:14.) The Bible calls this hardening hearts. (Psalm 95:8; Ephesians 4:17-19.)  People separate themselves from God by actions and choices. (Isaiah 59:1-2.) Yet unlike friends who may feel the sting of rejection and leave us alone, God still wants us and pursues us. (Isaiah 62:8-12.)

That’s why Jesus came, to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10.) God the Son came to set captives free, even those who are captive to their own sinful choices. (Luke 4:18-19; Romans 5:8.) He came to give us more life than we could hope to attain on our own. (John 10:10.)

When God gives, he gives to overflowing. (Psalm 23:5; Joel 2:24; Luke 6:38.) I like how Nancy Spiegelberg put it:

Lord I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I’d have come running with a bucket.

Jesus held the cup of never ending water to my parched lips, and now I drink in him by the bucket load.

Questions: When are you most likely to seal yourself off from God’s blessings? Why?

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10 Responses to Yeah, I’ve Been That Guy

  1. Sheesh Tim make a guy feel absolutely horrible (Just kidding, well maybe!) I think I am still more that guy than not. Just this past week one of the directors called me the CEO a “hellion today” then told me she would “talk to me tomorrow” when I said “I’m not done talking” she replied well “I’m done listening, perhaps by tomorrow God will remind you of why we do what we do” and hungup.

    Love this line “Jesus held the cup of never ending water to my parched lips, and now I drink in him by the bucket load”.

    Thanks for reminding mewhy I am glad he is writing the poem and not me. That I am his handiwork and not my own.

    • Tim says:

      Patrick, that idea of him being the one writing our poem is compelling. After all he is the Author of our salvation, right?

      • Actually Tim that word comes from Ephesians 2:10 depending on what translation you are reading the word handiwork, workmanship is taken from the greek word Poiema (Which of course we get our English word poem from) and that just blows me away that I am God’s poem.

        • Tim says:

          Right, we are his workmanship/poem/work of art depending on the translation. And all this makes sense in light of Hebrews 12:1-2 where we’re told he is the Author as well.

  2. janehinrichs says:

    I’ve been there for sure, recently even. But I watch people do this, people I love and I just ache for them because I can’t make them accept God and His blessings but I wish I could!

  3. Jeannie says:

    This spoke to me, Tim — I’ve been that guy, uh girl, AND the person on the other side. I think what I like most about what you’ve written here is the reminder of Jesus as friend. We sing “what a friend we have in Jesus” and call Him “our Saviour, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend,” and in the gospels we see Him being an amazing, grace-filled friend to people like Peter. This makes me want both to imitate His model of friendship and to rely on Him for courage and strength to do that. I have a humbling task to do today which I now feel more able to do, so thank you for this!

    • Tim says:

      I love those hymns! Remember too that Jesus himself calls us his friends: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15.)

  4. jamie says:

    Ugh, I do this when life is especially hectic, and then I get mad at myself and then the cycle continues…. Then I “force” myself to go to the fountain and find out I should have been there all along!

    • Tim says:

      I know what you mean about that cycle, Jamie. One thing (among tons) that i like about my relationship with Jesus is that he is never mad at me in those times and he doesn’t want me to beat myself up over it either. With him it’s always love and acceptance and the water is always flowing from him to me. Awesome!

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