I love this quote from C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity about the process of becoming true Christians:
“We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are. This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected: I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a 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.”
I find that it is easy to love someone when I am filled with the Spirit, someone that I sit next to at the Temple for example. But do I really have charity for my fellowman if I only love those who are kind to me? Certainly not.
I love these verses from Matthew 5:
43. "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44. "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45. "That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth crain on the just and on the unjust.
46. "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47. "And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
I also find that it is easy to serve others when their need happens to be something that I have an excess of, or confidence in. But am I a true Christian if I only love and serve others when it is convenient for me? No. There was nothing convenient or easy about the path that the Saviour walked. If I am to be a Christian, as I profess to be, then I must be willing to follow in His footsteps, which sometimes means doing difficult things.