It’s Fénelon Friday!
The reason I entered into the e-book market was because of Fénelon. I gave a way so many copies of Let Go, that I couldn’t even keep my own! When I saw that Amazon had the Whitaker House version as a Kindle book, I bought it, knowing I would never be giving way my smart phone or computer. One of the best investments I have ever made! This is letter is one of the reasons why. You can get your own copy here.
LETTER 23: Sensitivity to Reproof Is the Surest Sign We Needed It
I certainly want you to have inner peace. But I think you know that this peace does not exist, except for the humble. And there is no real humility unless it is produced by God in every situation. This is especially true in those situations when we are blamed for something by someone who disapproves of us, and when we realize our inner weaknesses. But we might as well get used to both of these trials, for they are tests which we will face again and again.
It is a good sign of real, God-produced humility when we are no longer shocked by the corrections of others, nor by the resistance within. Like little children, we know very well that those correcting us are right, but we also humbly acknowledge the fact that we cannot, by ourselves, make the necessary corrections. We know what we are, and we have no hope of becoming any better except through the mercy of God. The reproofs of others, harsh and unfeeling as they may be, seem to be less than we really deserve. If we find ourselves rebelling and getting irritable, we should understand that this irritability under correction is worse than all our other faults put together. And we know that correction is not going to make us any more humble than it finds us. If we have inner resentment at being corrected that just shows how deeply correction is needed. In fact, the sting of correction wouldn’t be felt at all if the old self were dead. So the more correction hurts, the more we see how necessary it is.
I do beg your forgiveness if I have said anything thing too harsh. But please do not doubt my affection for you. Remember that what I am saying to you does not come from me. It comes from God. And it is the hand of God, which makes use of this awkwardness of mine, to deal a painful blow to that self which causes you so many problems. If I have caused you pain, just remember that the pain proves that I have touched a sore spot. So just yield to God and be content with all His dealings with you, and you will soon have peace and harmony in your soul.
You have often told others about the importance of yielding to God. Now it is important for you to take your own advice. Oh, what wonderful grace will descend upon you if you will accept like a little child all the corrections and reproofs which God uses to humble you and bring you into submission. I pray that he may so completely destroy the self-life in you that it can no longer be found at all.
Francis Fénelon, Let Go (New Kensington, PA: Whittaker House, 1973).