C.S. Lewis: On Charity

One of the great parts about the life of a student is being forced to read books you otherwise may not have read. Mere Christianity is one such book. I probably would have read it based on the recommendations of my friends, but I’m getting far more out of the book than I think I would have otherwise. Anyway, it blessed me again so here’s a bit of Lewis to brighten your day. Lewis on charity:

The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not wast time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as  if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less. There is, indeed, one exception. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to show him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his ‘gratitude’, you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more, or at least, to dislike it less.

Consequently, though Christian charity sounds a very cold thing to people whose heads are full of sentimentality, and though it is quite distinct from affection, yet it leads to affection. The difference between a Christian and a worldly man is not that the worldly man has only affections or ‘likings’ and the Christian has only ‘charity’. The worldly man treats certain people kindly because he ‘likes’ them: the Christian, trying to treat every one kindly, finds himself liking more and more people as he goes on – including people he could not even have imagined himself liking at the beginning.

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.

At the risk of quoting the entire book, I will quit. But really, you should read the entire book.

EJ 

Categories: Books | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “C.S. Lewis: On Charity

  1. Pingback: How Helping Teachers In Need Helps You - I Love to Teach 101

  2. This is so right. Easy to do, if we let the law of love reign.

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