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.
Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
Too often people think to themselves, “I am a pretty good person. I have never done anything that is really wrong.” If that describes you then think hard about what Lewis says above – during those times when you are 'taken off guard' what is your reaction? I would hazard a guess that it is not, “Oh well, they just made a mistake. All is forgiven.”
If we are honest we would have to admit that our reaction many times to such situations is, “I'll show them! They can't do that to me.” Yes, perhaps that is not the reaction that we want to have but it is nevertheless how we do react. We must do something about those reactions. But how? They only way is to become a different person. But because all people have serious flaws that should not be copied there is really only one person for us to become – Jesus Christ. And isn't that, after all, the whole reason to be a Christian – in order to become like Christ?