Monday, February 4, 2013

what I'm reading: Tim Keller, inferiority complexes, and King's Cross

I've been reading Tim Keller's King's Cross for nearly a year, and I'm only 8 chapters in. Who says I'm a fast reader?

Some books need to be read slowly. Savoured, one chapter at a time.

Once a month or so, on my rare mornings off, I sit on a verandah outside my favourite cafe, overlooked by oak trees, sipping a spiced chai, reflecting and writing and staring into space.

And I read a single chapter of King's Cross - Tim Keller's exploration of the life of Jesus - and drink in every word.

I forget the gospel so quickly, but this book brings me back to the living water time after time.

Last Friday I recognised myself in these words:
See, there are two ways to fail to let Jesus be your Saviour. One is by being too proud, having a superiority complex—not to accept his challenge. But the other is through an inferiority complex—being so self-absorbed that you say, “I’m just so awful that God can’t love me.” That is, not to accept his offer.
I can be in either camp, depending on the day! But the second comes to me more naturally - and is harder to recognise.

So I love John Newton's words to a depressed man, quoted by Keller:
You say you feel overwhelmed with guilt and a sense of unworthiness. Well, you cannot be too aware of the inward and inbred evils you complain of, but you may be (indeed you are) improperly controlled and affected by them.
You say it is hard to understand how a holy God could accept such an awful person as yourself. You, then, not only express a low opinion of yourself (which is right!) but also too low an opinion of the person, work, and promises of the Redeemer, which is wrong.
You complain about sin, but when we examine your complaints, they are so full of self-righteousness, unbelief, pride, and impatience that they are little better than the worst evils you complain of!
Keller concludes,
Approach Jesus boldly, with rightless assertiveness [I love that phrase!]...Take up both the offer and challenge of God's infinite mercy.
I'm learning to do just that.

Quotes are from Tim Keller, King's Cross, 90-91.

1 comment:

Valori said...

Hey Jean! I think you and I are in the same camp. It is so helpful to see the issue this way. When I used to struggle a lot with feeling condemned and wondering if Jesus loved me, a good friend of mine used to say, "Do you think you need a different Savior?" In other words, was I so bad that although Jesus was good enough for everyone else, I was uniquely unworthy? Kind of a twist on thinking too highly of myself :).