So lately, I have been reading the Chronicles of Narnia (again lolz) and after reading this passage I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, and deserved to be. The context of the passage being that Eustace, an obnoxious and selfish little boy had got himself turned into a dragon and didn't know how to change himself back. Per usual, Aslan stepped in and told Dragon Eustace to undress himself.
“So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched deeper and instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness..In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bath. But as I was going to put my foot into the water I looked down and saw that it was all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly as it had been before….”
“And I thought to myself, oh dear, how ever many skins have I got to take off?”
“Then the lion said...you will have to let me undress you”
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt….He peeled the beastly stuff right off...and there it was lying on the grass: only so much thicker, and darker and more knobbly looking than the others had been”
As much as I love dragons, they do not have the best reputation. Dragons are cold blooded, greedy, prideful and cruel. No one actually wants to be this kind of dragon, we typically don’t think we are capable of acting in such a way. We pretend that we are not dragons, that we can scratch and tear off our scales and find the baby soft skin we have convinced ourselves we have within us. But do we actually realize how futile our efforts are? Dragons shed; like other reptiles their scales regrow as they lose old ones. How have we managed to convince ourselves that we are so different from the dragons in the stories but also that we can be our own solution? Be more disciplined, give more of your time to the Lord, spend more time in prayer for your girls and guys...have we forgotten how hopeless these attempts are without the Lord doing the heavy lifting within our hearts? The lion’s tear hurt Eustace (funny how the first few of Eustace’s attempts caused no discomfort). Once the skin was pulled off, it was unquestionably different than the shedding skins Eustace had taken off previously. Aslan’s tear revealed human flesh, Eustace’s did not. Whether Jesus is the one tearing the hard and scaly skin from our hearts or He is using the people around us, we should expect it to hurt if it is to mean anything. We should understand inherently that if a friend is calling you out for loving those that are easier to love at the neglect of those who need it more, or saying that you have not held up your end of any relationship out of selfishness or mistrust, that these things will hurt. They will hurt because they are digging deeper into the problem of our dragon-like nature, deeper than we tend to believe we need to go or are willing to go ourselves.
Proverbs 27:17 “ As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” If we don’t allow our Jesus or our friends to call us out, or if we assume that they don’t deserve our trust and submission, we will remain the cold-hearted and awful dragons we pretend we aren’t. Taylor spoke about this at leadership, we need to learn to trust the wounds of a friend. This is much easier said in theory, but the point is, we can’t convince ourselves that we can live this life on our own. We need each other, to help us act like children of god as opposed to the dragons that spend their entire lives being hunted in fairy tales. We need to value and trust one another enough to know that we are a family and will take care of each other regardless of how dragon-like we are choosing to be. Dragons don’t have families, dragons live and die alone, don’t be a dragon