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
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.”