C.S. Lewis On The Small Unmentionables

This is a quote taken from C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer. It’s a gem that stands alone excellently without doing violence to the context. Enjoy.

Always, in solitude, and also in confession, I have found (to my regret) that the degrees of shame and disgust which I actually feel at my own sins do not at all correspond to what my reason tells me about their comparative gravity. Just as the degree to which, in daily life, I feel the emotion of fear has very little to do with my rational judgment of the danger. I’d sooner have really nasty seas when I’m in an open boat than look down in perfect (actual) safety from the edge of a cliff. Similarly, I have confessed ghastly uncharities with less reluctance than small unmentionables –or those sins which happen to be ungentlemanly as well as un-Christian. Our emotional reactions to our own behavior are of limited ethical significance.

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