Is it not, then, the duty of the Church to preach national repentance’? I think it is. But the office — like many others can be profitably discharged only by those who discharge it with reluctance. We know that a man may have to ‘hate’ his mother for the Lord’s sake.1 The sight of a Christian rebuking his mother, though tragic, may be edifying; but only if we are quite sure that he has been a good son and that, in his rebuke, spiritual zeal is triumphing, not without agony over strong natural affection. The moment there is reason to suspect that he enjoys rebuking her that he believes himself to be rising above the natural level while he is still, in reality, grovelling below it in the unnatural—the spectacle becomes merely disgusting. The hard sayings of our Lord are wholesome to those only who find them hard. There is a terrible chapter in M. Mauriac’s Vie de Jésus. When the Lord spoke of brother and child against parent, the other disciples were horrified. Not so Judas. He took to it as a duck takes to water: ‘Pourquoi cetter stupeur?, se demande Judas.… II aime dans le Christ cette vue simple, ce regard de Dieu sur l’horreur humaine.’2 For there are two states of mind which face the Dominical paradoxes without flinching. God guard us from one of them.
1 Luke 14:26: ‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.’
2Francois Mauriac, Vie de Jésus (Paris: 1936), ch. 9, ‘”Why this stupefaction?” asked Judas…. He loved in Christ his simple view of things, his divine glance at human depravity.’
C.S. “Jack” Lewis, “Dangers of National Repentance,” The Guardian, 15 March 1940!
Cited from God in the Dock (Eerdmans: 1970) 191-192.