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We Need More Than Kindness

We Need More Than Kindness

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Published by Jocelyn Soriano
What is kindness? If anyone should happen to be very kind to us, should we have any reason to ask for more? The modern man boasts of this very virtue, that he is kind. And with that kindness, we have made the erroneous assumption that kindness itself is love. But is it? In the book “The Problem With Pain”, C.S. Lewis made a very enlightening discussion about what mere kindness means and how different it really is from love.
What is kindness? If anyone should happen to be very kind to us, should we have any reason to ask for more? The modern man boasts of this very virtue, that he is kind. And with that kindness, we have made the erroneous assumption that kindness itself is love. But is it? In the book “The Problem With Pain”, C.S. Lewis made a very enlightening discussion about what mere kindness means and how different it really is from love.

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Published by: Jocelyn Soriano on Mar 12, 2012
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We Need More Than Kindness
What is kindness? If anyone should happen to be very kind to us, should wehave any reason to ask for more? The modern man boasts of this very virtue,that he is kind. And with that kindness, we have made the erroneousassumption that kindness itself is love. But is it? In the book
“The ProblemWith Pain”,
C.S. Lewis made a very enlightening discussion about what merekindness means and how different it really is from love:
Love Is Not The Same As Kindness
“There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous,and when kindness (in the sense given above) is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it.
Kindness consents veryreadily to the removal of its object - we have all met people whose kindness toanimals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer.
Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good orbad, provided only that it escapes suffering.
Lewis explained that kindness is merely interested in taking away the sufferingof another. Love on the other hand, is interested in the
good
of his beloved,even if that good should mean that the beloved suffer temporary pain.How many times have we questioned God’s love for us because He did notappear to be kind? In times of trial and darkness, when His kindness seems sofar away, we all too easily doubt He ever loved us. For how could He allow usto suffer so much if He really cares?But God cares. And more than being kind, He is Love itself, a Love that willsus to be just like Him, a Love that wants us to be strong, steadfast, sensitive tothe needs of others, able to empathize with and help those who are in pain.
It’s Easy To Be Kind Without Sacrifice
Lewis further explained how man can so easily boast of kindness as though itis something that is difficult to do:
“The real trouble is that ‘kindness’ is a quality fatally easy to attribute toourselves on quite inadequate grounds. Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment. Thus a man easilycomes to console himself for all his other vices by a conviction that ‘hisheart's in the right place’ and ‘he wouldn't hurt a fly’, though in fact hehas never made the slightest sacrifice for a fellow creature.”
 
“Perhaps my harping on the word "kindness" has already aroused a protestin some readers' minds. Are we not really an increasingly cruel age?Perhaps we are: but I think we have become so in the attempt to reduceall virtues to kindness. For Plato rightlytaught that virtue is one. You cannot be kind unless you have all theother virtues. If, being cowardly, conceited and slothful, you have neveryet done a fellow creature great mischief, that is only because yourneighbour's welfare has not yet happened to conflictwith your safety, self approval, or ease.”
In the event of conflict between our neighbor’s welfare and our own interests,are we willing to make the necessary sacrifice for the good of the other? If wetruly love them, we will be able to do so, for love is not a disinterested act of philanthropy or random kindness towards those you don’t care deeply about.Love is a consuming fire!
Intimacy Reveals True Love and Kindness
Why is it that there are people who seem to be so kind to others and yet sostrict with those whom they love? Aside from the possibility of hypocrisy, thesepeople find it easier to be kind with others because they don’t care so much atall for them as much as they care for their own family and friends. Lewiswrote:“It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness onany terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting andwould rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible andestranging modes
. If God is Love, He is, by definition, something morethan mere kindness.
And it appears, from all the records, that though He hasoften rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt.He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, mosttragic, most memorable sense.”It is not that we should be unkind to our loved ones. We just find it moredifficult to do so because we feel a greater urge deep within us to seek for theirgood, not just to gain their pleasure or to see them happy at the moment.
“You asked for a loving God: you have one. The great spirit you so lightlyinvoked, the ‘lord of terrible aspect’, is present: not a senile benevolencethat drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the coldphilanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host whofeels responsible for the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fireHimself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist's love forhis work and despotic as a man's love for a dog, provident and venerable
 
as a father's love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love betweenthe sexes.” – C.S. Lewis
Was His Prayer Not Answered?
 There was once a very poor man named Jose who wanted to win the lottery. He prayed, "Lord, Ireally wanted to give my family a better life. I want to be able to send my daughter to school.And I want to buy medicine for my sick wife. Please help me win this lottery." With full trust in God's power, He bought his lottery ticket. The next day, he was so excited to read the lottery results that he didn't even eat his breakfast. Hequickly got out of the house and bought a newspaper, hoping to find the answer he was lookingfor. To his total dismay however, not one of his numbers matched the winning results. Disappointedand frustrated, he looked up to heaven and asked where he had gone wrong. Later he found out it was his neighbor who won the lottery. His neighbor was so happy that hecouldn't help but broadcast his fate to his friends. Jose felt even more frustrated. He knew the man who won. The man was a drunkard, one who beat his wife and his children. How could God have blessed that man when He ignored Jose's plea? Some years later, a shocking news reached Jose. The man who won the lottery was murdered bythieves that tried to rob his house, and rumor has it that the man's own friends plotted theincident because they were jealous of his good fortune. Some more years later, Jose's daughter received a scholarship, and she was able to graduate later on and find a stable and high earning job. She supported her father and gave him a business of his own. Jose now lives in a decent house, earning a good sum from his business, and surrounded byfamily and friends who love him. 

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