Saturday, December 30, 2006

The danger of 'nice'

I try to be nice, don't you? But as C.S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity it is the source and direction of our niceness that counts in the end, not just some ephemeral self-constructed action that we consider 'nice'.

'Niceness' - wholesome, integrated personality - is an excellent thing. We must try by every medical, educational, economic, and political means in our power to produce a world where as many people as possible grow up 'nice'; just as we must try to produce a world where all have plenty to eat. But we must not suppose that even if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world - and might even be more difficult to save.

It is truly a danger, particularly in this modern and heavily secularized world, to stop at being 'nice' and to forget the true reason we are being nice. And if you don't know the answer to that, spend some time contemplating Christ on the Cross and see what comes to you.