Saturday, November 03, 2007


"Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he is. Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats; it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way, the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light. Apparently the rats of resentment and vindictiveness are always there in the cellar of my soul. Now that cellar is out of reach of my conscious will. I can, to some extent control my acts: I have no direct control over my temperament (emotions). And if what we are matters even more than what we do-then it follows that the change which I most need to undergo is a change that my own direct, voluntary efforts cannot bring about. And that applies to my good actions too.I cannot, by direct moral effort, give myself new motives. After the first few steps of the Christian life we realize that everything which needs to be done in our souls can be done only by God.and in reality, it is God who does everything. We, at most, allow it to be done to us."

C S Lewis, Mere Christianity

1 comment:

Rhonda Jeanne said...

So true and humbling. I often times would like a "do over" when I've been provoked and respond inappropriately. And my kids often are gracious enough to provide me with numerous "do overs", as they provoke over and over again! I think instead, I wish I had a "Control Z" command, so I could "undo" an inappropriate action. Yeah, that would be very helpful!! I think I shall blog that!