Nature is infinitely rich and diverse in her ways. She can be seen to break her most unchanging laws. She has made self-interest the motive of all human action, but in the great host of men she produces ones who are strangely constituted, in whom selfishness is scarcely perceptible because they do not place their affections in themselves. Some are passionate about the sciences, others about the public good. They are as attached to the discoveries of others as if they themselves had made them, or to the institutions of public welfare and the state as if they derived benefit from them. This habit of not thinking of themselves influences the whole course of their lives. They don't know how to use other men for their profit. Fortune offers them opportunities which they do not think of taking up.In nearly all men the self is almost never inactive. You will detect their self-interest in nearly all the advice they give you, in the services they do for you, in the contacts they make, in the friendships they form. They are deeply attached to the things which affect their interests however remotely, and are indifferent to all others. When they encounter a man who is indifferent to personal interest they cannot understand him. They suspect him of hidden motives, of affectation, or of insanity. They cast him from their bosom, revile him.
If you are ready to trade the hollow self-made beauty of this world for the glorious Christ-built beauty of a set-apart young woman, this is where it all begins. Denying self, taking up your cross, and following the Lamb wherever He leads. In other words, letting go of all preoccupation with self: our comfort, our pleasure, our agenda, our popularity, our ability to gain the world's approval, even our own dreams and desires. And, as Paul did, treating all those things as rubbish for the excellence of the knowledge of Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:7-9).
She did understand, or at least she understood that she was supposed to understand. She understood, and said nothing about it, and prayed for the power to forgive, and did forgive. But he can't have found living with her forgiveness all that easy. Breakfast in a haze of forgiveness: coffee with forgiveness, porridge with forgiveness, forgiveness on the buttered toast. He would have been helpless against it, for how can you repudiate something that is never spoken? She resented, too, the nurse, or the many nurses, who had attended my father in the various hospitals. She wished him to owe his recovery to her alone—to her care, to her tireless devotion. That is the other side of selflessness: its tyranny.