A basic tenet of the Christian faith is the consideration of others. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2); “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4); “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well” (James 2:8).
Any questions? I have one. How do you think of others when overwhelmed by your own concerns? It’s not easy but it can be done. Sometimes it takes nothing more than a short note of honesty.
When C. S. Lewis received the news that the wife of Sir Henry Willink, one time Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, had passed away, he was already in over his head caring for his wife, Joy, who would die of cancer in less than a year. In his response dated December 3, 1959, Lewis seeks to encourage, comfort, and express his deepest sympathies. He writes,
“I wish I had known your wife better. But she has a bright place in my memory. . . . She will be very greatly missed—on her own account, quite apart from any sympathy with you—by every fellow of this College.
“. . . I shall not be at the funeral. You can understand and forgive my desire, now, to spend every possible moment at home. Forgive me if I have said anything amiss in this letter. I am too much involved myself to practise any skill.”1
I have to say I disagree with his last sentence.
“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.” – Isaiah 50:4.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 1103.