If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues,
nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you asked almost any of the
great Christians of old he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened?
A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than
philological importance. The negative ideal of Unselfishness carries with it the
suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without
them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important
point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has
lots to say about self-denial, but not about self-denial as an end in itself. We are
told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow
Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so
contains an appeal to desire.
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and
earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion
has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed,
if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the
rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires
not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with
drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child
who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is
meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
NOTE: Notwithstanding the picture representing our misguided ideas of how much more our Father has for us than mud pies, and that sex isn’t a bad thing in context but a very good thing, and drink is both life-giving and proper in it’s context….this kid is CUTE isn’t he? ha