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Monday, April 07, 2008

Master Mentor #20

Chapter 19 (Book 3, Chapter 9)
In many respects, this chapter felt like it was thrown together without much sense of definite direction. Many of CS’s other chapters have felt like there was a strong theme running through them or a central thought to tie them together. This chapter didn’t feel that way. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good thoughts in here on charity. But this chapter didn’t seem as strong as others in this book.
One of the interesting thoughts… and this is totally backed up by my personal experience… is that “good and evil both increase at compound interest” (page 117). CS, in this chapter, is talking about how as Christians, we are called to do little acts of “charity” for others. We aren’t called to do these because we “like” the person that we are doing it for. In fact, he even goes so far as to say that often liking person complicated the charity. But we ought to do little acts of charity for all of those that we find our lives. And part of that reason is that both good and evil compound. He goes on to say that’s “why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance” (page 117). Part of the distinction that CS is trying to draw is between doing something nice for everyone because something nice has been done for us and doing something nice in hopes that someone else will notice. We ought and are called to do acts of charity for those around us because acts of charity have been done for us… namely by God.
Part of what struck me in this chapter was this idea of doing little acts of kindness, regardless of your level of appreciation, love or even “like” for a person. One of the difficult things in my life is being around people that I don’t like. If I’m upset with someone… co-worker, student, etc… I just don’t even want to be around them. But the problem is, most of the time, out of sight/out of mind doesn’t always help. And I usually find myself more frustrated with them than I was at the first. But in those occasions, when I have tried to do something nice or treat them in a way that maybe they didn’t deserve, I began to see my heart and attitude change towards them in a good way. Which seems to be exactly what CS is talking about here in this chapter. And really… isn’t that what God did for me? Didn’t he do something incredible for me before I really did anything to deserve it? Indeed, He did.

Jim

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