Most mornings Doug and I read (well, he reads to me while I drink my coffee and try to wake up) selections from a couple of books of daily readings. Every day is full of good stuff, though I may not be fully awake enough to appreciate it all. But I must have been wide awake this morning, because it was so good that I wanted to post it up for you. It’s from C.S. Lewis (A Year with C. S. Lewis, Daily Readings from His Classic Works) called “Love Your Neighbour as Yourself.” It’s really supposed to be read on July 25, but we press on. It’s a quotation from Mere Christianity. (Don’t be confused by the British spellings and punctuation. It’s the way they do it over there.) Here it is:
Well, how exactly do I love myself?
Now that I come to think of it, I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection for myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own society. So apparently ‘ Love your neighbour’ does not mean ‘feel fond of him’ or ‘find him attractive’. I ought to have seen that before, because, of course, you cannot feel fond of a person by trying. Do I think well of myself, think myself a nice chap? Well, I am afraid I sometimes do (and those are, no doubt, my worst moments) but that is not why I love myself. In fact it is the other way round: my self-love makes me think myself nice, but thinking myself nice is not why I love myself. So loving my enemies does not apparently mean thinking them nice either. That is an enormous relief. For a good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are really not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are. Go a step further. In my most clear-sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one. I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing. So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do.”