Reading is such a privilege! I’ve always known this, from the time I entered first grade at five years old and was introduced to Dick, Jane and Sally, until now. When my children were small, …
Reading is such a privilege! I’ve always known this, from the time I entered first grade at five years old and was introduced to Dick, Jane and Sally, until now. When my children were small, though, I found that sometimes, it was hard to be a good mother and read for myself, because I would get so involved in my book, I’d resent their need for attention. So, for the most part, I laid my reading aside for a time, and instead, kept mounds of children’s books around, which we all enjoyed together.
But my children aren’t small anymore, and I’m delving again into a broader variety of books. One I’ve read recently is Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, author of more than 30 books. I liked it.
Among many other things, C.S. Lewis names seven pivotal virtues anyone who claims to be a Christian should have.
1. Prudence… wisdom, taking the time to think what you are doing and what the results will be.
2. Temperance… knowing how far you should go in all pleasures.
3. Justice… fairness, honesty, truthfulness, keeping promises.
4. Fortitude… courage, guts, being determined to pursue what’s right (other virtues won’t be pursued very long without this).
5. Purity… never knowingly encouraging lust in yourself or others.
6. Forgiveness… not wishing evil on your enemy, not enjoying hate.
7. Humility… the center of Christian behavior, but not always what you think; characterized by cheerfulness, knowing a real interest in what others say, an enjoyment of life, and unawareness of yourself; may be best described by defining its opposite - PRIDE.
* Pride is common to saint and sinner alike, but usually the serious Christian will be the only one to admit it.
* Pride is essentially competitive. It has no joy in what you have, only out of having more than the other guy.
* Pride is power hungry.
* Pride takes pleasure in being “above” the rest.
* Pride looks down on things and people.
* Pride is not in the fact that you have pleased someone. It is not pleasure in being praised; it is in being totally admiring of yourself.
* Pride is right actions done for the wrong reasons and the result is hypocrisy.
* Pride is subtle and deadly, because it is purely spiritual - it can be totally hidden.
* Pride is the worst of all vices because it loves to smuggle itself into the center of your “faith”. Here’s a good test of your pride. Whenever you and your religious life make you feel you are good, in fact, a little better than others around you, you are being acted upon by evil, not by good.
Maybe the reason I took special note of C.S. Lewis’ treatment of humility-pride is because of our community. Many of us are religious. Could it be that that doesn’t mean a whole lot? Wouldn’t that be humbling? And wouldn’t that be good.
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