Forgive The Inexcusable – C.S. Lewis

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you - CS Lewis
Forgive The Inexcusable - CS Lewis

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

C.S. Lewis


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The profound words of the acclaimed British author and Christian apologist, C.S. Lewis, offer a glimpse into the heart of Christianity. Forgiveness is a central theme in the Christian faith, and yet, it remains one of the most challenging aspects to live out in our daily lives. This article will explore the depth of this quote by C.S. Lewis, examining the theological basis for forgiveness, the process of forgiving the inexcusable, and the transformative power of forgiveness on individuals and communities.

Theological Basis for Forgiveness

The Nature of God

At the core of Christian theology lies the belief in a loving and merciful God. The Bible repeatedly emphasizes God’s compassionate nature, with descriptions such as “slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6) and “forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Numbers 14:18). This divine love is the foundation upon which the concept of forgiveness in Christianity is built.

The Human Condition

The doctrine of original sin, introduced by the early Christian theologian St. Augustine, maintains that humanity is inherently flawed and sinful. This belief underscores the need for forgiveness, as every person is believed to have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). This universal need for forgiveness establishes a common ground for all people, regardless of their individual transgressions.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ

The central event in Christianity is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus, the Son of God, took upon himself the sins of the world, offering himself as a perfect sacrifice to reconcile humanity with God. Through his atoning sacrifice, Jesus provided a path for forgiveness and salvation for all who believe in him (1 John 2:2). This act of divine mercy demonstrates the extent to which God is willing to forgive the inexcusable in humanity.

Forgiving the Inexcusable

Acknowledging Our Own Inexcusable Sins

In order to forgive others, we must first recognize our own need for forgiveness. This requires a degree of humility and self-awareness, as we come to terms with our own imperfections and the ways in which we have hurt others. As the apostle Paul reminds us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Understanding the True Nature of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is often misunderstood as a one-time event, a simple act of letting go of a hurt or offense. In reality, forgiveness is an ongoing process that involves the transformation of the heart and mind. True forgiveness does not require that we forget or condone the offense, but rather that we release the desire for vengeance and cultivate empathy and understanding for the offender.

Cultivating Empathy and Compassion

Empathy is the ability to put oneself in another person’s shoes and to understand their emotions, thoughts, and motivations. It is an essential component of forgiveness, as it allows us to see the humanity in those who have wronged us and to recognize that they, too, are in need of forgiveness. By cultivating empathy and compassion, we can begin to break down the barriers that prevent us from forgiving the inexcusable.

Seeking God’s Grace and Assistance

Forgiving the inexcusable is a tall order, and it is often beyond our human capacity to achieve on our own. As Christians, we can turn to God for strength and guidance in our journey towards forgiveness. Through prayer, reflection, and the study of Scripture, we can invite God’s grace into our lives, empowering us to forgive in a way that we might not be able to on our own.

The Power of Community and Accountability

The Christian faith is built on the principle of community, with believers coming together to support, encourage, and hold one another accountable in their spiritual journey. By sharing our struggles with forgiveness, we can draw strength and wisdom from our fellow believers who may have faced similar challenges. Additionally, the process of confession and repentance within the Christian community provides a means for healing and restoration in our relationships with one another.

The Transformative Power of Forgiveness

Personal Transformation

Forgiving the inexcusable can lead to profound personal transformation. By releasing the burden of bitterness and resentment, we make room for healing, growth, and a deeper connection with God. Forgiveness allows us to move forward in our lives, free from the shackles of past hurts and offenses.

Restored Relationships

Forgiveness has the power to restore broken relationships, bringing reconciliation and healing to both the offender and the offended. When we forgive others, we open the door to renewed trust and understanding, allowing for the possibility of rebuilding what was once lost.

The Ripple Effect

The act of forgiving the inexcusable can have a far-reaching impact on our communities and the world at large. As we model forgiveness in our own lives, we inspire others to do the same, creating a ripple effect that can ultimately lead to a more compassionate and empathetic society.

A Testament to God’s Love

When we forgive the inexcusable in others, we demonstrate the depth of God’s love and mercy in our own lives. As the apostle Paul wrote, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Our willingness to forgive bears witness to the transformative power of the Gospel and serves as a powerful testimony of God’s grace at work in the world.


The journey to forgiveness is a challenging and transformative process, but it lies at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. By embracing C.S. Lewis’s admonition to forgive the inexcusable, we are reminded of the profound love and mercy that God has extended to each of us, even in our most broken and sinful state.

Through humility, empathy, and reliance on God’s grace, we can learn to forgive the inexcusable in others, just as God has forgiven the inexcusable in us. In doing so, we not only experience personal healing and transformation, but we also participate in the ongoing work of God’s kingdom, bringing reconciliation, restoration, and hope to a world in desperate need of forgiveness.