The Weight of Glory by C. S. Lewis

The difference between this situation [forgiving your fellow man] and the one in which you are asking for God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in others, we do not accept them easily enough. As regards my own sins it is a safe bet that the excuses are not really so good as I think; as regards other men’s sins against me it is a safe bet that the excuses are better than I think.

C. S. Lewis is my favorite writer. Like John Updike according to the blurb on the back of my copy of The Weight of Glory, “I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiration.” Everything I desire in non-fiction is present in Lewis’s essays: a consistent but not overbearing authorial voice, a dry sense of humor, and the thoughts of a mind sharp enough to generate thought whether you agree with them or not.

The Weight of Glory is a collection of essays, some of which are adapted from radio addresses Lewis delivered throughout his life. They touch on some the subjects you might expect from Lewis: theology, mythology, Christianity, and some you may not, such as cliques and war. Although it’s true that all these essays end up tying into bigger theological concerns, the smoothness and logic with which Lewis lays out his arguments ought to be an inspiration for Kierkegaards everywhere.

The titular essay concerns itself with the afterlife and the Christian’s response to it. It’s quite powerful and moving, one of the best he ever wrote, and yet the shortest essay in the book, one titled “Forgiveness” was the most impactful on me, saying more in a scant 5 pages than many authors can say in an entire book. The excerpt that opens this review comes from it, and seems to me to be wonderful advice to keep in mind whether you’re a Christian or not.

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