I’m listening to the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (By the way, I’m pretty much addicted right now to the FOTF Radio Theatre adaptations of classics, and I’ve nearly exhausted my church library’s stash. If you have any recommendations in that series or other audio dramatizations I might enjoy, let me know, and I will start looking elsewhere.) I’m remembering how much I love this story. The title of my post is pretty obvious to anyone who’s even shallowly considered the Christian implications of C. S. Lewis’s classic. Duh, of course Edmund represents the sinner who is redeemed by Christ’s (Aslan’s) sacrificial death.
But this time, I’ve been thinking about why it’s so easy for me to identify with this rather unpleasant little English boy from a time before I was born. I’ve always liked Edmund most of the four siblings–Lucy is basically just cute; Peter is too heroic, and Susan (I hate to say it) is pretty boring. But that doesn’t explain why I’m so overcome at that point when Aslan comes out of the tent with Edmund and says, “Here is your brother. There is no need to talk to him about what is past.” Certainly, I’m moved by the truth behind the scene, but allegory, true as it may be, can often be cold and dry.
I think the reason I identify with Edmund, and why most people, if honest with themselves, probably do too, is that his sins are so mundane. He is not trying to take over the world; he is not flagrantly cruel; he does not craft audacious lies or tempt with the voice of Satan. Those are the White Witch’s sins. Edmund’s sins are a child’s sins: He is jealous of his older brother, pettily mean to his little sister, and generally cross with all of his siblings. He does tell a few lies, but not the kind that could hurt anyone (so he thinks). He wants people to recognize that he’s important. And yeah, he loves sweets a bit too much.
These are a child’s sins, but adults don’t grow out of them. All of these have been my sins, some of them often. So that’s why this story means so much to me. Jesus doesn’t just save flamboyantly evil sinners; he also saves sinners who are cranky, greedy, cowardly, and prideful despite not having very much to be proud about.
For more on unpleasant English boys (in Narnia and at Hogwarts), see my post Sometimes humility must come through humiliation.