A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

“To be bad, [Satan] must exist and have intelligence and will. But existence, intelligence, and will are in themselves good. Therefore he must be getting them from the Good Power; even to be bad he must borrow or steal from his opponent. And do you now begin to see why Christianity has always said that the devil is a fallen angel? That is not a mere story for the children. It is a real recognition of the fact that evil is a parasite, not an original thing (p. 43).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Parasites don’t tend to like other parasites. At least I would assume not, but I have never had a conversation with a flea or tick. A parasite requires an independent life source in order to survive. Two parasites would quickly starve to death if they tried to live off one another.

This can explain why “sweet” people often wind up with “consumer” spouses. A consumer requires a giver in order to survive. Two relational consumers could not co-exist. Honestly, they would drive each other mad (either with the connotation of anger or crazy or both).

This points out a rarely taught call upon the Christian – not to let evil live off our goodness (in Christ). We often give love the shallow definition of “being nice” to someone. To point out that someone is being a relational-consumer is deemed “not nice.” Especially because there is always a reason why this moment is different and they promise to be a giver “next time.” They may not even be self-aware that they are d

oing it. After all, that is just life for a parasite.

When we fail to heed this call we become depleted and begin to look for someone else to live off. This probably accounts for the popularity of the need-based, love-tank marriage books. Parasitic love has become so common in our culture that even our Christian marriage books now accommodate it instead of confronting it.

If we think about it, God’s creation has been falling for the lies of the Master Parasite from before time began. Satan led many angels (now demons) into his revolt to try to replace God. When we begin to think about our relationships in terms of “meeting my needs” (the focus of every parasite) rather than in mutually sharing God’s overflowing blessings, we are buying into the parasitic system. And, therefore, we should expect to be drained.

This reinforces the call to not be unequally yoked. Anyone who is not a Christian is ruled by the Master Parasite. For that matter, even many Christians are more ruled by the Master Parasite than the Master Giver (hence the most popular Christian books on marriage) and should not be dated until they evidence the character to support a healthy relationship.

It requires great confidence in God and the Gospel to live this way. It requires a willingness to prefer (and ability to discern) loneliness to counterfeit companionship. But like in any transaction, need makes fools of us all. Go to the grocery hungry and you’ll over spend.

You may be asking, “Does love keep a record of wrongs? In order to avoid a relational-consumer wouldn’t I have to keep score?” I don’t think we have to go there. The question is not based in a comparison of what we each do. The question is, “Are we each growing in a self-giving generosity?” If the answer is “no,” then we are in a relationally dangerous situation; growing more like Satan than Christ.