C.S. Lewis: Two Kinds of Love

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We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

“There are two kinds of love: we love wise and kind and beautiful people because we need them, but we love (or try to love) stupid and disagreeable people because they need us. This second kind is the more divine because that is how God loves us: not because we are lovable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but He delights to give.

But the other question (what one is loving in loving a country) I do not find very difficult. What I feel sure of is that the personifications used by journalists and politicians have very little reality. A treaty between the governments of two countries is not all like a friendship between two people: more like a transaction between two peoples’ lawyers.

I think love for one’s country means chiefly love for people who have a good deal in common with oneself (language, clothes, institutions), and it is that way like love of one’s family or school: or like love (in a strange place) for anyone who once lived in one’s home town…My mind tends to move in a world of individuals not of societies.”

C.S. Lewis in “Letter to Mary Van Deusen dated 25 May 1951” in Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis, edited by Paul F. Ford (New York: Harper One, 2008) 166-167.

Today’s post seemed fitting, at least for Americans, as there is a lot of political talk with November elections drawing near and there is a need for people to love one another. How do we think about these things and their relationship to generosity?

Let’s start with those who bless us. Who are the “wise and kind and beautiful people” in your life? Make a mental list. These people touch you with their sensitivity and love! Send at least one person who comes to mind a text expressing gratitude for their generosity.

Now, can you think of people to whom you give love because they need you? Consider their names and needs at this moment. Give thanks that God resources you to bless them, and think about what you could do for them today. Follow God’s leading in action.

Lastly, when it comes to politics, we will do well to ponder this. What if, like Lewis, we moved in the world of individuals rather than societies, since this world is not our home? Let us see ourselves as citizens of heaven and align with other such citizens.

From there, let us express gratitude for those whose wisdom, kindness, and beauty touches us. And for those who appear “stupid and disagreeable” for holding different views, rather than hurling words like tomatoes at them, let us love them like God chose to love us.