Cruel to be kind?

Problem
“The real trouble” (says C. S. Lewis) “is that ‘kindness’ is a quality fatally easy to attribute to ourselves on quite inadequate grounds. Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment. Thus a man easily comes to console himself for all his other vices by a conviction that ‘his heart’s in the right place’ … though in fact he has never made the slightest sacrifice for a fellow creature.” This
second of three brief posts on the theme of Love and pain also comes from C. S. Lewis…

C. S. Lewis wrote: “There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous, and when kindness [in the sense given above] is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it. Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object – we have all met people whose kindness to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer.

Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition, are punished [Hebrews 12:8].

“It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes.

If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.”

From C. S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain

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