Wednesday, September 28, 2016

fantasy virtues

Lewis tells us about imaginary virtues today in A Year with C.S. Lewis.

He says that we are missing the point if the good that we're doing is entirely in our imagination. And he's right, of course. As long as we're imagining "helping people" without actually doing it, we're not really "working out our salvation with fear and trembling."

The thing is, we're called to DO the right thing and help people, and we're called to do it for the right reason - not to bring ourselves glory or thanks, but to serve God and to help the person because we love them. Of course, there are times when we're just going through the motions and helping people because we HAVE to, which isn't really the best reason. And there are times when we wish people well, but don't do anything about it.

Both of those things are less than ideal, but they're better than NOT wishing people well or NOT helping people at all. We have to give ourselves some grace. We won't always do the right thing, and even when we DO the right thing, we won't always do it for the right reason. Sometimes we'll just go through the motions of helping someone even though our heart isn't in it. That's OK. At least we're helping them.

And of course we wish everyone on the planet to be well and to love God. That doesn't mean we'll have the opportunity to actually HELP everyone on the planet every day. Sometimes just wishing them well is OK, too.

But if we ask Him, He'll help us to do the right thing and help people... for the right reason: because we love them. And that's the best.

God, help us to keep helping people even when we don't feel like it... and help us to genuinely love them when we're capable.