“We must, therefore, not be surprised if we find among the Christians some people who are nasty. There is even, when you come to think it over, a reason why nasty people might be expected to turn to Christ in greater numbers than nice ones. That was what people objected to about Christ during His life on earth: He seemed to attract ‘such awful people.’ That is what people still object to, and always will…
Often people who have all these natural kinds of goodness cannot be brought to recognize their need for Christ at all until, one day, their natural goodness lets them down and their self-satisfaction is shattered. In other words, it is hard for those who are ‘rich’ in this sense to enter the kingdom. It is very different for the nasty people- the little, low, timid, warped, thin-blooded, lonely people or the passionate, sensual, unbalanced people. If they make any attempt at goodness at all, they learn, in double-quick time, that they need help. It is Christ or nothing for them. It is taking up the cross and following- or else despair. They are the lost sheep; He came specially to find them. The are (in one very real and terrible sense) the ‘poor’; He blessed them. They are the ‘awful set’ he goes about with- and of course the Pharisees say still, as they did from the first, ‘If there were anything in Christianity those people would not be Christians.’
There is either a warning or an encouragement here for every one of us. If you are a nice person-if virtue comes easily to you- beware! Much is expected from those to whom much is given. If you mistake for your own merits what are really God’s gifts to you through nature, and if you are contented with simply being nice, you are still a rebel: and all those gifts will only make your fall more terrible, your corruption more complicated, your bad example more disastrous. The Devil was an archangel once; his natural gifts were as far above yours as yours are above those of a chimpanzee.
But if you are a poor creature-poisoned by a wretched up-bringing in some house full of vulgar jealousies and senseless quarrels-saddled, by no choice of your own, with some loathsome perversion-nagged day in and day out by an inferiority complex that makes you snap at your best friends-do not despair. He knows all about it. You are one of the poor whom He blessed. He knows what a wretched machine you are trying to drive. Keep on. Do what you can. One day (perhaps in another world, but perhaps far sooner than that) he will fling it on the scrapheap and give you a new one. And then you may astonish us all-not the least yourself; for you have learned your driving in a hard school. (Some of the last will be first and some of the first will be last.)”