Our Keenest Pleasure
Paradisal man always chose to follow God's will. In following it he also gratified his own desire, both because all the actions demanded of him were in fact, agreeable to his blameless inclination, and also because the service of God was itself his keenest pleasure, without which as their razor edge all joys would have been insipid to him. The question 'Am I doing this for God's sake or only because I happen to like it?' did not then arise, since doing things for God's sake was what he chiefly 'happened to like'. His God-ward will rode his happiness like a well-managed horse, whereas our will, when we are happy, is carried away in the happiness as in a ship racing down a swift stream. Pleasure was then an acceptable offering to God because offering was a pleasure.
—from The Problem of Pain
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat: and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: for thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee (25:21-22).
The air was strangely silent. The last of the mortar shells had exploded, and the gunfire had ceased. The skirmish had gone on for hours. A patrol moved forward to check for the enemy, and as they rounded a bend, an enemy soldier lay bleeding in the path. One of the soldiers raised his rifle to shoot the man, but his partner told him to stop. The man was in bad shape, and he needed help. All the killing was senseless, and it seemed criminal to shot someone who had one foot the grave. The soldiers carried the hurt enemy toward his own side and they bandaged his wound. They left him with water and food, and went their way. In the center of a terrible war, the two men felt like they had found something right to do and they had done it.
If someone would do us harm, that is something that they will have to answer for. God has said we should love everyone and we are called to serve not only our friends, but our enemies as well. We will answer to God for our actions, as will our enemies. It is vital that we have nothing to be ashamed of in that final time. We must not act like those who would hurt us. When we treat them with love, we make their sin doubly dark, and the Lord rejoices in our loving kindness.
prayer: I have difficulty loving those who love me, Father, so I definitely need your help to love my enemies. Show me what is good in them that I might respond with concern and affection. Amen.