ll of this talk about do-gooders and the motivations that lay within their hearts has increased my interest in finding corroboratory evidence – evidence that builds a case for what I’ve said in previous blog entries. In sum: Christians do good for far greater reasons that those associated with a fear of the Lord. I’ve been reading Mere Christianity, which truly is one of the most beautifully crafted books of the 20th century. C.S. Lewis, widely regarded as one of the most talented American writers to date, adequately tackles the topic of do-gooders both inside and outside of the Christian realm:
“…the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope [the non-Christians], by being good, to please God if there is one; or – if they think there is not – at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him…” (Lewis, Mere Christianity, 63).
This “Christ-life” refers to what occurs within the hearts and lives of those who decide not only to accept Christ, but also to allow Him to act as their spiritual compass (essentially, this is referring to the Holy Spirit). Lewis takes this full circle with the following:
“He [the Christian] does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of the greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it” (Lewis, Mere Christianity, 63).
This statement holds universal truth worth regarding. Whether or not you are a Christian, this, at the least, elevates this perspective to replace inadequate explanations from others who have wrongly judged the motivations of Christian do-gooders. Of course, that is their right to misjudge. This piece is merely being drafted in order to provide a more appropriate backing for what I’ve already written.
As can be imagined, Lewis has plenty more to say on the topic. Here’s one more tidbit:
“We might think that, provided you do the right thing, it did not matter how or why you did it – whether you did it willingly or unwillingly, sulkily or cheerfully, through fear of public opinion or for its own sake. But the truth is that right actions done for the wrong reason do not help to build the internal quality or character called a ‘virtue’, and it is this quality or character that really matters.” (Lewis, Mere Christianity, 80)
So, in the end doing good is about the heart, not about fear or obligation (although obligation can be a healthy component in certain circumstances).
Interesting thoughts to ponder…