See a gallery of 12 quotes on forgiveness.

  • Without forgiveness, life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.
    — Robert Assagioli quoted in Gospel Days by Joan Chittister
  • Perhaps forgiveness is the last thing mentioned in the Creed because it is the last thing learned in life. Perhaps none of us can understand the forgiveness of God until we ourselves have learned to forgive.
    — Joan Chittister in In Search of Belief
  • If you want to see the brave, look at those who can forgive. If you want to see the heroic, look at those who can love in return for hatred.
    — The Bhagavad Gita quoted in Legacy of the Heart by Wayne Muller
  • Never forget that to forgive yourself is to release trapped energy that could be doing good work in the world.
    — D. Patrick Miller
  • Forgiveness is something freely granted, whether earned or deserved; something lovingly offered without thought of acknowledgment or return. It is our way of mirroring the goodness in the heart of a person rather than raising up the harshness of their allows us to live in the sunlight of the present, not the darkness of the past. Forgiveness alone, of all our human actions, opens up the world to the miracle of infinite possibility.
    — Kent Nerburn in Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace
  • Jesus told us to love our enemy. "Father, Forgive them, for they know not what they do." This teaching helps us know how to look at the person we consider to be the cause of our suffering. If we practice looking deeply into his situation and the causes of how he came to be the way he is now, and if we visualize ourselves as being born in his condition, we may see that we could have become exactly like him. When we do that, compassion arises in us naturally, and we see that the other person is to be helped and not punished. In that moment, our angertransforms itself into the energy of compassion. Suddenly, the one we have been calling our enemy becomes our brother or sister. This is the true teaching of Jesus.
    — Thich Nhat Hanh in Living Buddha, Living Christ
  • "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." Everyone makes mistakes. If we are mindful, we see that some of our actions in the past have caused others to suffer, and some actions of others have made us suffer. We want to be forgiving.
    — Thich Nhat Hanh in Living Buddha, Living Christ
  • "Forgiving" may appear as one word, but in its inner meaning, there are two words, "for" and "giving." Forgiving has less to do with another and more to do with giving to yourself — giving yourself the freedom to release tightness, let go of competition, unveil illusions of boundaries and limits. When you for-give you are giving simplicity back to chaos, joy back to anger, love back to fear, and constriction back to expansiveness.
    — Shoni Labowitz in Miraculous Living
  • Directing lovingkindness, or sending goodwill, toward people we feel very good about is usually easy to do. Directing goodwill to your grudge-list people is hard to do. What makes it possible is recalling at least one positive thing about each person on the list, the remembrance of which opens your heart. The key is forgiveness. To do anything less is painful.
    — Sylvia Boorstein in It's Easier Than You Think
  • It was August 1979, my birthday month as well as the month of Sanvatsari — the great Jain festival of forgiveness. During this month, all Jains celebrate the annual event of total reconciliation by forgiving and begging forgiveness of all creatures. This I had been taught as a way of healing wounded relationships. If I had harmed any man or woman, any animal or plant, I begged their forgiveness. If I had, knowingly or unknowingly, shown any disrespect or disregard for humans and nonhumans, I sought their forgiveness. Through this act I retrieved all my offensive and careless thoughts, words, and deeds. In a similar spirit, if I had been hurt by anyone in any way, I forgave them totally and utterly. I declared my friendship with all beings, I had no enemy.
    — Satish Kumar in Path Without Destination
  • There was once a tradition in Russia as Easter drew near: Before going to confession, the members of a household would observe a beautiful home ritual. Each would bow to the other members of the family, including the servants, and utter the age-old phrase, "In the name of Christ, forgive me if I have offended you." The ritual response was, "God will forgive you." Consider the profound healing effect such a ritual of anticipating sacramental absolution might have in your home.
    — Edward Hays in A Lenten Hobo Honeymoon
  • The practice of forgiveness is not only, or even primarily, a way of dealing with guilt. Instead, its central goal is to reconcile, to restore communion — with God, with one another, and with the whole creation.
    — L. Gregory Jones in Practicing Our Faithedited by Dorothy C. Bass
  • Thousands of women were burned at the stake on suspicion of being witches. Wouldn't it be lovely to see a religious leader visit one of these sites and go down on his knees to ask forgiveness from the women of the world for what was done to their sisters in the name of his religion.
    — John O'Donohue in Eternal Echoes
  • Forgiveness is vast — there really is no rationalreason for it. Justice by itself asks not for forgiveness but for restitution. Forgiveness requires some great love, a love that beckons one to another horizon, another place, another relationship. Sometimes this call is clear, and sometimes it lurks in the dark, is muffled, and requires faith even to catch a faint echo of its presence.
    — Matthew Fox in Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh
  • It is a mystery we are dipped into. Two-thirds of Jesus' teachings are about forgiveness. A good third of Jesus' parables are about forgiveness, directly or indirectly. Forgiveness has nothing to do with logic. It is the final breakdown of logic. It is a mystical recognition that human evil is something we are all trapped by, suffering from, and participating in. It calls forth weeping, humility, and healing much more than feverish attempts to root out the evil. The transformation happens through the tears much more than through threats and punishments.
    — Richard Rohr in Everything Belongs
  • Among the most powerful of human experiences is to give or to receive forgiveness. . . . When we forgive, we choose the goodness of the other over their faults, we experience God's goodness flowing through ourselves, and we also experience our own goodness in a way that almost surprises us. That is an awesome coming together of power, both human and divine.
    — Richard Rohr and John Bookser in Hope Against Darkness
  • In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, each recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe.
    — Jack Kornfield in The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
  • If only we could help each other build temples of forgiveness instead of prisons.
    We can.
    In our own hearts.
    — Jack Kornfield in The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
  • "Love your enemies," the precept of the Gospels, calls on us to pass over to those who hate us or to those we hate, and so it requires the miracle-working power of forgiveness, to release others and be released ourselves.
    — John S. Dunne in The Road of the Heart's Desire
  • Think of someone in your life you need to forgive, someone who has hurt you or a loved one physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Or ask yourself if there is something you need to be forgiven for. In either case, you may be at the beginning of the forgivenness process or you may already be engaged in forgiving another or yourself. Take your desire to forgive to God, speaking from your heart, asking for help, sharing all you feel. You may wish to turn to the Psalms, write, draw, or dance your prayer, or sit silently, opening yourself to God's mercy. However you pray, remember that the liberation you experience and the peace you gradually discover in your heart through forgiveness will bring freedom and peace to others. Your prayers are one step toward healing a broken world.
    — Jane Vennard in Embracing the World
  • Forgiveness Is the Cash
    is the cash you need.
    All the other kinds of silver really buy
    Just strange things.
    Everything has its music.
    Everything has genes of God inside. . . .
    Forgiveness is part of the treasure you need
    To craft your falcon wings
    And return
    To the realm of
    Divine freedom.
    — Hafiz in Embracing the World by Daniel Ladinsky
  • During my work with cancer, AIDS, psychiatric, and Alzheimer's patients; with battered women, caregivers, jail inmates, addicts, as well as so-called normal people, I have found that nothing is more difficult than forgiveness. Some people cannot ask for forgiveness, some cannot forgive another, some of us don't even realize that we are our own harshest judge and withhold forgiveness from ourselves.
    — Madeline Ko-i Bastis in Heart of Forgiveness
  • Forgiveness is the final form of love.
    — Reinhold Niebuhr in Heart of Forgiveness
  • The fire of resentment can only be extinguished by the light of forgiveness.
    — Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan in In Search of the Hidden Treasure
  • By his forgiveness the power of the mystic can be so great and his insight can be so keen that an ordinary man cannot imagine it. Beyond and above the power of justice is a great power of love and compassion, which is the very being of the mystic.
    — Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan in In Search of the Hidden Treasure
  • We must make our homes centers of compassion and forgive endlessly.
    — Mother Teresa in Divinity in Disguise by Kevin Anderson
  • The only people we can really change are ourselves. Forgiving others is first and foremost healing our own hearts.
    — Henri J. M. Nouwen in Bread for the Journey
  • Forgiveness is born of increased awareness. The more you can see, the easier it is to forgive.
    — Deepak Chopra in The Path to Love
  • If we really want to learn how to forgive, perhaps we had better start with something easier than the Gestapo.
    — C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity
  • Forgiveness is one of the really difficult things in life. The logic of receiving hurt seems to run in the direction of never forgetting either the hurt or the hurter. When you forgive, some deeper, divine generosity takes you over. When you can forgive, then you are free. When you cannot forgive, you are a prisoner of the hurt done to you. If you are really disappointed in someone and you become embittered, you become incarcerated inside that feeling. Only the grace of forgiveness can break the straight logic of hurt and embitterment.
    — John O'Donohue in Eternal Echoes
  • My good friend Sylvia Boorstein, while reading this chapter, shared with me "the nine words that would change the world," which she learned from Rabbi David Zeller. The nine words are "I'm sorry. I made a mistake. Please forgive me."
    — Lewis Richmond in Work as a Spiritual Practice
  • There was a certain elder who, if anyone maligned him, would go in person to offer him presents, if he lived nearby. And if he lived at a distance he would send presents by the hand of another.
    — Roger Walsh in Essential Spirituality
  • The capacity to forgive is the capacity to let go of ego.
    — David Richo in Shadow Dance
  • The whole witness of Jesus' life and death is to the unfathomable depths of God's forgiveness. English poet and artist William Blake cites the capacity of Jesus to forgive another, and to reenter vulnerably into the deepest relation with another, as the strongest evidence of his being God in the flesh.
    — Douglas V. Steere in Dimensions of Prayer
  • The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.
    — Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love
  • Forgiveness seems to remain a theme waiting to be explored in depth in our present age. This deep and extensive kind of loving of enemies, while it has long roots in our tradition, seems to have become a theme of special urgency in our contemporary world.
    — Wendy Wright in The Rising
  • Forgiveness is a complex experience that changes an offended person's spiritual feelings, emotions, thoughts, actions, and self-confidence level. I believe learning to forgive the hurts and grudges of our life may be an important step for us to feel more hopeful and spiritually connected and less depressed. These changes improve our health and give us more energy to create a better life for ourselves. They allow our bodies to function in an optimal way.
    — Fred Luskin in Forgive for Good
  • Dr. Harold Bloomfield, author of Surviving the Loss of a Loved One, says, "Every day you don't forgive it's as if you are ingesting tiny bits of poison." This poison slowly robs us of our desired future. Whether we need forgiveness for ourselves or for others, it is imperative to give ourselves permission to participate in this sacred process.
    — Debbie Ford in Spiritual Divorce
  • It is hard to imagine a world without forgiveness. Without forgiveness life would be unbearable.
    Without forgiveness our lives are chained, forced to carry the sufferings of the past and repeat them with no release.
    — Jack Kornfield in The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
  • The past is over:
    Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past.
    — Jack Kornfield in The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
  • In the end, forgiveness simply means never putting another person out of our heart.
    — Jack Kornfield in The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace
  • Genuine forgiveness has three stages. The first is simply acknowledging how unwilling we are to forgive the other. . . :. The second stage is bringing awareness to the emotional reactivity toward the person we resent: to experience it without judgment, to see it with an open mind. . . :. The third stage of a forgiveness practice is to say words of forgiveness.
    — Ezra Bayda in At Home in the Muddy Water
  • Why is it so difficult to apologize? Because to articulate an earnest and thoughtful apology we need to win a struggle with our own pride. Thinking that apologies put us in a position of weakness, we often wait for others to apologize first. When we bring ourselves to apologize, however, we discover how cathartic it is.
    — P. M. Forni in Choosing Civility
  • While riding in an elevator, ask to be forgiven for an unkind act you did that day.
    — Joanne Redmond in Say A Little Prayer
  • Forgiveness is a passage to a sanctuary of wholeness, that nurturing place where we feel intimately connected to the people who matter most to us. It is a place of healing and transformation. In it, we feel the perfect fullness of the present.
    — Ira Byock in The Four Things That Matter Most
  • When somebody you've wronged forgives you, you're spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience.
    When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you're spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride.
    For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other's presence.
    — Frederick Buechner in Beyond Words
  • After I escaped from Tibet, Lopon-la put in prison by Chinese. He stayed there eighteen years. When he finally free, he came to India. For twenty years, I did not see him. But he seemed the same. Of course looked older. But physically OK. His mind still sharp after so many years in prison. He was still same gentle monk.
    He told me the Chinese forced him to denounce his religion. They tortured him many times in prison. I asked him whether he was ever afraid. Lopon-la then told me: "Yes there was one thing I was afraid of. I was afraid I might lose compassion for the Chinese."
    I was very moved by this, and also very inspired.
    Now. Lapon-la. Forgiveness helped him in prison. Because of forgiveness, his bad experience with Chinese never got worse. Mentally and emotionally, he didn't suffer too much. He knew he could not escape. So, better to accept reality than to be traumatized by it.
    — His Holiness The Dalai Lama in The Wisdom of Forgiveness by Victor Chan
  • In our country, we speak of something called ubuuntu. When I want to praise you, the highest praise I can give you is to say, you have ubuuntu — this person has what it takes to be a human being. This is a person who recognizes that he exists only because others exist: a person is a person through other persons. When we say you have ubuuntu, we mean that you are gentle, you are compassionate, you are hospitable, you want to share, and you care about the welfare of others. This is because my humanity is caught up in your humanity. So when I dehumanize others, whether I like it or not, inexorably, I dehumanize myself. For we can only by human, we can only be free, together. To forgive is actually the best form of self-interest.
    — Desmond Tutu in The Wisdom of Forgivenessby Victor Chan
  • This is the lesson; this is all that is being learned: Forgiveness truly is the key to happiness, to simple liking, to heartfelt contentment, to the enjoyment of other people, to remaining present, and to the certainty that we already exist in freedom. Just forgive, merely relax and let go of dislikes and justified resentments, simply forget grievances and bleak anticipations, just set all things free of dark memories and cruel expectations. Let loose, let go, let be, and the earth cannot help but sing and your heart dance with it. Forgive and be happy. That is the ancient secret, the inner teaching, the hidden answer, the lost knowledge, the message of the still, quiet voice, and the only wisdom ever to be attained.
    — Hugh Prather in Shining Through
  • Forgiveness means reconciliation in spite of estrangement; it means reunion in spite of hostility; it means acceptance of those who are unacceptable; and it means reception of those who are rejected. Forgiveness is unconditional, or it is not forgiveness at all.
    — Paul Tillich in Field Notes on the Compassionate Life by Marc Ian Barasch
  • Some years ago, New York's then-governor Mario Cuomo was engaged in a debate about capital punishment. He was asked if he — an opponent of the death penalty — would nonetheless wish the death sentence imposed in a hypothetical case in which his own wife was the victim of a brutal murder. "Of course, I would!" Cuomo thundered, but then added, "And that is precisely why I am opposed to the death penalty. Because a just society must be built on a foundation stronger than one man's desire for revenge!" Cuomo's point was simple enough: even if the most impulsive thing to do is to float with the tide, there are times in our lives when the most noble thing to do is to strain against it. . . .
    Forgiveness is fundamental to justice, but it requires the unlearning of deeply ingrained, culturally supported behaviors. It is like trying to untie a tight old knot.
    — Erik Kolbell in Were You There?
  • Forgiveness is not a luxury we can engage in now and then, or up to a measurable number of times. It is the very lifeblood of the spiritual life, the way in which we maintain our connection with the flow of divine energy. As soon as we try to limit it in any way, we cut ourselves off from God's reign, from the whole realm in which prayer derives its efficacy and healing its solace. . . . Forgiveness keeps affirming future for the other, just as we count on God to continually affirm future for us.
    — Ron Miller in The Hidden Gospel of Matthew
  • Be forgiving and understanding instead of holding any grudges. We must never allow a grudge to fester and grow inside our mind, because we will only be harming ourselves in the end. The greatest virtue in life is forgiveness. When there is animosity from others, we need to be forgiving and understanding. We should not be calculating and attached to our views. Therefore, we need forgiveness and understanding to overcome animosity and the holding of grudges.
    — Master Hsing Yun in Keys to Living Well
  • If we want to find inner peace, we must forgive those who hurt us. As we forgive those who hurt us, we can forgive ourselves. We become reconciled, the bonds of common humanity are restored, and we widen the community of peace around us.
    — John Dear in Living Peace
  • Forgiveness is an act of faith in God, an act of hope in the future, and an act of love for our neighbors. If we dare forgive, we can trust that God will deepen within and among us the gift of peace.
    — John Dear in Living Peace
  • We need lots of love to forgive, but we need much more humility to ask for forgiveness.
    — Mother Teresa in Naikan by Gregg Krech
  • On the wings of forgiveness is carried all other wisdom.
    — Honey J Rubin in Compassion by Christina Feldman
  • Perhaps the United States could establish a national apology day, during which people would seek out those they had hurt, and ask for forgiveness.
    — Joseph Telushkin in A Code of Jewish Ethics
  • The primary teaching of Jesus is forgiveness — for everything, for everyone, in all circumstances and deeds.
    — Megan McKenna in On Your Mark
  • To forgive is among the most challenging things for you human beings to do. It requires that you let go of your stories.
    — Deborah L. Johnson in Your Deepest Intent
  • Forgiveness is a positive quality. It contains joy and faith in others, generosity of spirit. Illogical and surprising, sometimes sublime, it frees us from the ancient chains of resentment. Whoever forgives, feels uplifted.
    — Piero Ferrucci in The Power of Kindness
  • Nothing blocks feelings of gratitude more than anger and resentment. That's why the practice of gratitude requires the work of forgiveness.
    — M. J. Ryan in Giving Thanks
  • This is an elegant technique for forgiveness recommended by several religions: If you are having difficulty forgiving someone, give them a gift.
    — Roger Walsh in Essential Spirituality
  • Forgiveness is the gift that says two things: First, I am just as weak as everyone else in the human race and I know it. And second, my inner life is too rich to be destroyed by anything outside of it.
    — Joan Chittister in Gospel Days
  • Forgiveness is what we need when we think we don't and what we give when we think we shouldn't.
    — Joan Chittister in Gospel Days
  • Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.
    — Robert Assagioli in Gospel Days by Joan Chittister
  • There is an intimacy and magnetism to apology and forgiveness that breaks down the barriers between people and draws them closer.
    — Lewis Richmond in Work as a Spiritual Practice
  • Forgiveness is the peace you learn to feel when you allow these circling planes to land.
    Forgiveness is for you and not the offender.
    Forgiveness is taking back your power.
    Forgiveness is taking responsibility for how you feel.
    Forgiveness is about your healing and not about the people who hurt you.
    Forgiveness is a trainable skill just like learning to throw a baseball.
    Forgiveness helps you get control over your feelings.
    Forgiveness can improve your mental and physical health.
    Forgiveness is becoming a hero instead of a victim.
    Forgiveness is a choice.
    Everyone can learn to forgive.
    — Fred Luskin in Forgive for Good

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