In a classic work by C.S. Lewis called The Weight of Glory, Lewis shows that forgiveness of others is the irrefutable sign of God's mercy within you. The brilliance of Lewis' work is that he shows how it's easy for a Christian to say "I forgive," but how forgiveness isn't seen in one's words; it's seen in the way one treats another human being.
In a generation when many get their news and information from Twitter's 140 character bites, Lewis's works are rarely read, much less understood. With this in mind, I am reducing four profound statements by Lewis' on the subject of forgiveness to 140 characters of less. I may tweet them at my leisure, but I must live them for my Christianity to be real.
"You must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart—every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out. The difference between this situation and the one in such you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough." C.S. LewisTweet: When I'm thinking about getting even with someone who's hurt me, I'm forgetting the grace and ease with which God has forgiven me.
"As regards my own sin it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are not really so good as I think; as regards other men’s sins against me it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are better than I think. One must therefore begin by attending to everything which may show that the other man was not so much to blame as we thought." C.S. LewisTweet: Spending more time creating and accepting excuses for the sins of others than for my own sins is a sign I'm on the path of forgiveness.
"But even if he is absolutely fully to blame we still have to forgive him; and even if ninety-nine percent of his apparent guilt can be explained away by really good excuses, the problem of forgiveness begins with the one percent guilt which is left over. To excuse what can really produce good excuses is not Christian character; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." C.S. LewisTweet: To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in me.
"This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocations of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night ‘forgive our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.’ We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There's no hint of exceptions; God means what He says." C.S. LewisTweet: My refusal to forgive evidences my rejection by God, for my forgiveness of others is the irrefutable sign of His forgiveness of me.