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The bleeding charity

I just used this quote from CS Lewis's The Great Divorce to illustrate the difference between the two sons in Luke 15.  

It's a parable about a bus-load from hell who are Ghosts.  They come to the outskirts of heaven and the Bright Men from heaven come out to try to convince the Ghosts from hell to come in.

In this conversation a Ghost recognizes a Bright Man who he knew in life - and he knew him to be a murderer.



GHOST:  Look at me now (says the ghost, slapping its chest – but the slap made no sound).  I’ve gone straight all my life.  I don’t say I have no faults, far from it.  But I done my best all my life see.  I done my best by everyone – that’s the sort of chap I was. I never asked for anything that wasn’t mine by rights. If I wanted a drink, I paid for it, see.  And if I took my wages, I done my job see.  That’s the sort of man I was.

BRIGHT MAN – It would be much better (said the Bright man) if you wouldn’t talk like that.  You’re never going to get there like that.

GHOST:  What are you talking about. (says the Ghost) I’m not going on, I’m not arguing.  I’m just asking for nothing but my rights.  I just want to have my rights.  Same as you see

BRIGHT MAN:  Oh no, (said the Bright man) It’s not as bad as that.  I never got my rights and you won’t get your rights either.  You’ll get something so much better.

GHOST:  That’s just what I mean (says the Ghost).  I haven’t got my rights.  I’ve always done my best and I’ve never done anything wrong.  And here’s the thing.  Well, if you don’t mind my saying so – here’s the thing I wonder about.  Why should I be put down there below a bloody murderer like you.  What’s a murderer doing up there? And what is a sort like me doing down there?

BRIGHT MAN:  Well (the Bright man says) I don’t know where you’ll be put, just be happy and come.

GHOST: What do you keep on arguing for (says the Ghost) I only want my rights.  I’m not asking for anyone’s bleeding charity.

BRIGHT MAN – Oh then do (said the Bright man) – at once.  Ask for the bleeding charity.  Everything is here for the asking and absolutely nothing can be bought

GHOST:  That may be alright for you (said the Ghost) if they choose to let a bloody murderer in just because he makes a poor mouth at the last minute, that’s their look-out.  I don’t want charity though. I’m a decent man, and if I had my rights I’d have been there long ago and you can tell them I said so.

(The Ghost was almost happy now that it could in a sense threaten)

GHOST:  That’s what I’ll do – I’ll go home.  I didn’t come here to be treated like a dog.  I’ll go home.  Damn and blast the whole pack of you.

And still grumbling but whimpering a little bit as it picked its way over the sharp grasses – it left.


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