Thursday, June 21, 2012

Forgiving the Inexcusable


“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ― C.S. Lewis

Inexcusable is defined as "impossible to excuse or justify; unpardonable." 

A list of synonyms for this word includes unforgivable, indefensible, unjustifiable, outrageous, unpardonable, unwarrantable, inexpiable.

Sounds like we've got a big task ahead of us if we as Christians are expected to forgive the inexcusable.

Have you ever had anything happen to you that you believed or felt was inexcusable?  Stop and think -- anything so horrible that it was unforgivable or unpardonable?

Forgive a personal reference here.  Almost two decades ago, I received a call on a Friday evening.  My mother's voice at the other end of the line held a shakiness and the sound of tears.
I was impatient.  We were to meet friends for dinner soon.  So I pushed her to hurry.  That's when she blurted out that a nephew had been the victim of thieves.  At first, I didn't quite get the gist of her words, but quickly came to understand that my nephew had been murdered.

Murdered.  Stolen from us in cold blood.  Gunned down by a man who believed that my nephew and his wife might be having an affair.  They were former high school sweethearts but had each gone away to college and married other people.  This man just happened to see them talking at a company picnic where both families were in attendance.  All a huge mistake in so many ways.

Proud of his plan to kill my nephew, this man told his wife and eldest son what he intended to do.  Of course, their words amounted to hearsay on police reports and were not admissible in the courtroom.

Because no weapon was found and the suspected murderer couldn't be placed at the scene of the crime, and despite his running away and hiding in another state for some months, the jury found him not guilty.

Murdered.  Stolen from us in cold blood.  Inexcusable act.  Forgive this man?  How were we to do that?  My brother lost a son, I lost a nephew, a young boy lost his father, my mother lost a grandson -- our family lost a whole person, leaving an empty place at the table in the heart of every family gathering.  

We were supposed to forgive this act of violence, this inexcusable act?

Yes, we were to be Christians.  We were supposed to forgive.  I have tried, and I know others in the family have tried.  Some of us have been successful.

How you might ask?  By relying on the Word of God to be our Guide and by reflecting on the truth that God gave his only Son to save us from our sins, some of which are likely inexcusable in the eyes of some.  God's Son shed His blood for us, for our inexcusable acts.

What will you do when something inexcusable happens to you, a member of your family, in your workplace?  Will you be able to forgive the inexcusable?


Linking up with the Write It, Girl Summer Link-up!  Won't you join us?

Write it girl


  1. Wow Sherrey. Your post hit me hard. What a horrific story. As a man in my early 30s, this story hit close to him. What if something like that happened to our family? Scary stuff.

    It was a great story on forgiveness and I think you are right. We are supposed to forgive the inexcusable. One thing I would add is that we need to forgive the inexcusable for our own sake, because if we don't, it will ruin OUR life. Forgiveness is as much or more for us as it is for the other person.

    Thanks for the great post.


    1. Aaron, you are so right about forgiving the inexcusable for our own sake. Harboring the bitter feelings when something hard hits your life will only eat away at the ability to make our life what it should be and what God wants it to be. How could I forget that point? Thanks for lifting it up!

  2. Such a hard thing! I know God has dealt with me over "conditional grace" vs. "unconditional grace", but its so much different when there is a truly "inexcusable" act. All I know is that I am so thankful for His unconditional grace that covers me. I have to remember that.

    Amanda @

    Stopping by from Write It Girl. :)

    1. Amanda, nice to "meet" you! Glad you came by from Write It, Girl. I too am thankful for His unconditional grace, and I only wish and pray that I could be more like Him in my acts of forgiving. :)

  3. Wow... so heartbreaking and powerful. Thank you for sharing such a painful thing. Would love for you to share at my Hearts&Homes link up at

    blessings to you!

    1. Lauren, thanks for stopping by today. I've stopped in at your blog, and I'm happy to be a part of your Hearts & Homes link up. I also found many other things that even a great-grandma can find helpful in making her life in retirement easier. Greatly enjoyed checking out your printables. I'm married to an industrial designer, not too far afield from graphic design, and I appreciate the detail and artistry that goes into your work. See you on Tuesdays and other days of the week too!

      Blessings in all you're committed to doing for women, both young and older!

  4. I can forgive, but the forgetting is the hard part. Thankfully I have never had to deal with death in the way you have, but my struggle has been being treated poorly by a family member, forgiving them, yet them behaving in an awful way again. Again, I forgive them, but I don't know that I will ever be able to forget, especially when I am not convinced something of this nature won't happen again.

    1. Ah, yes, Jenni -- the forgetting part! How could I leave that out when it's the hardest part of forgiving. Perhaps I'll do a follow-up post on forgetting. Our family has struggled with the forgetting part of not only this but other hurts which weren't at the hands of others. Sometimes forgetting all of difficult time allows us to be at peace, and yet sometimes it also allows us to forget lessons learned. It's so understandable in your circumstances -- I've been there too!

  5. Imagining your family going through this hurts my heart on so many levels, Sherrey. I hope and pray his wife and child found their way through grief into mourning into longing...

    For me, I know I cannot harbor anything. The stress of resentment does strange things to me physically. So I have learned to forgive. And I have needed to remind myself that Jesus did as much if not more for me...

    Hugs to you, friend!

    1. Nikki, brings me great joy when I find you waiting for me here. Thanks for your encouraging words . . . resentment does bring a stress that is almost beyond description for me too. Thinking on Jesus' act of complete sacrifice would necessarily bring things into focus. Bless you, dear friend.


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