Look at the people around your table or the person on the other side of the office. What do you see? Do you see a person to be conquered? Is the person across the pew someone you want to impress, outwit, outsmart, outplay? Or, do you see someone for whom the right word or act might keep them from perishing and lead them towards salvation?
C. S Lewis is often only known as an entertaining writer for children.
But for Lewis, the gospel was not a form of children’s entertainment. It’s was an urgent message with Good News and something that Lewis took to heart. For Lewis, everything was subordinate to the salvation of lost sinners.
In his book, The Weight of Glory, Lewis writes,
“It is hardly possible for us to think too often or too deeply about the glory of our neighbour…
It’s a serious thing to live in a society and remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you might meet only in a nightmare.
All-day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics.
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilisation. These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.” (pp. 14f.)
The Christian, says Lewis, “…knows from the outset that the salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world.”
This tips us off as to what C. S. Lewis’ life was really devoted to. More than story-telling, his heart was for the salvation of the lost.
This view of humanity goes beyond our attitude to those who have never professed faith in Christ. While it is true that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13), it is also true that he who perseveres to the end shall be saved (Matthew 24:13).
Our love is not only toward those who we think are lost but also to those who think they are not.
You have never talked to a mere mortal. You have never cuddled, embarrassed, amused or impressed a mere mortal. Unless a man repents, he will perish and his end will be unimaginably horrific. But if he repents, he will be healed, restored and transformed into an everlasting splendour of God’s grace.
The carnal man asks, “What can I do to impress the person beside me?” ” What can I do to curry favour, belittle or flatter the man to my right?” Love asks, “What can I do to keep this person from perishing – right here, right now. What can I say or do to help them take another small step toward salvation?”