- Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.
- Paul Lewis Boese, in Quote : The Weekly Digest, Vol. 53, No. 8, p. 146 (19 February 1967)
- I love you and I forgive you. I am like you and you are like me. I love all people. I love the world. I love creating. Everything in our life should be based on love.
- Surely it is much more generous to forgive and remember, than to forgive and forget.
- Maria Edgeworth, "An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification"; Tales and Novels, Volume 1, p. 213
- I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore.
- It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.
- There's always going to be a part of me that's sloppy and dirty, but I like that. With all the other parts of myself. Can you say the same about yourself fucker? Can you forgive? Are you any good at that?
- There comes a day when, for someone who has persecuted us, we feel only indifference, a weariness at his stupidity. Then we forgive him.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1942-09-06
- Turn the other cheek too often and you get a razor through it.
- Johnny Rotten, in: Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 303. CN 5585.
- Forgiveness is an absolute necessity for continued human existence.
- Desmond Tutu, as quoted in Pastoral Care for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Healing the Shattered Soul (2002) by Dalene Fuller Rogers and Harold G Koenig, p. 31
- I also am other than what I imagine myself to be. To know this is forgiveness.
- Simone Weil, in "Void and Compensation" in Gravity and Grace (1947)
- Always forgive your enemies — nothing annoys them so much.
- Oscar Wilde, quoted in The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations (1958) by Fritz Heider, p. 269
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 288-89.
- Good, to forgive;
Best to forget.
- Robert Browning, La Saisiaz, Prologue
- The fairest action of our human life
Is scorning to revenge an injury;
For who forgives without a further strife,
His adversary's heart to him doth tie:
And 'tis a firmer conquest, truly said,
To win the heart than overthrow the head.
- Lady Elizabeth Carew, chorus from "Maxiam"
- Qui pardonne aisément invite à l'offenser.
- He who forgives readily only invites offense.
- Corneille, Cinna, IV. 4
- We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.
- Attributed to Cosmus, Duke of Florence, by Bacon. Apothegms. No. 206
- Thou whom avenging pow'rs obey,
Cancel my debt (too great to pay)
Before the sad accounting day.
- Wentworth Dillon, On the Day of Judgment, Stanza 11
- Forgiveness to the injured does belong,
But they ne'er pardon who have done the wrong.
- John Dryden, Conquest of Granada, Part II, Act I, scene 2
- She hugged the offender, and forgave the offense,
Sex to the last.
- John Dryden, Cymon and Iphigenia (1700), line 367
- His heart was as great as the world, but there was no room in it to hold the memory of a wrong.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims (1876), Greatness
- Bear and forbear.
- Epictetus. See Gellius, Book XVII. 6
- The offender never pardons.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651). No. 563
- Æquum est
Peccatis veniam poscentem reddere rursus.
- It is right for him who asks forgiveness for his offenses to grant it to others.
- Horace, Satires, I. 3. 74
- Ex humili magna ad fastigia rerum
Extollit, quoties voluit fortuna jocari.
- Whenever fortune wishes to joke, she lifts people from what is humble to the highest extremity of affairs.
- Juvenal, Satires, III. 39
- For 'tis sweet to stammer one letter
Of the Eternal's language; — on earth it is called Forgiveness!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Children of the Lord's Supper, line 214
- These evils I deserve, and more
* * * * * *
Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon,
Whose ear is ever open, and his eye
Gracious to re-admit the suppliant.
- Oh Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And ev'n with Paradise devise the snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blackened — Man's forgiveness give and take!
- Forgiveness is better than revenge.
- Pittacus, quoted by Heraclitus
- Humanum amare est, humanum autem ignoscere est.
- To love is human, it is also human to forgive.
- Plautus, Mercator, II. 2. 46
- Good-nature and good-sense must ever join;
To err is human, to forgive, divine.
- What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heaves
To wash it white as snow?
- I pardon him, as God shall pardon me.
- Tout comprendre rend tres-indulgent.
- To understand makes one very indulgent.
- Anne Louise Germaine de Staël, Corinne (1807), Book XVIII, Chapter V
- Pardon, not wrath, is God's best attribute.
- Bayard Taylor, Poems of the Orient, Temptation of Hassan Ben Khaled, Stanza 11, line 31
- The sin
That neither God nor man can well forgive.
- Alfred Tennyson, Sea Dreams
- Ignoscito sæpe alter, nunquam tibi.
- Forgive others often, yourself never.
- Syrus, Maxims
- Menschlich ist es bloss zu strafen
Aber göttlich zu verzeihn.
- It is manlike to punish but godlike to forgive.
- Peter Winter
Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers
Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
- To do evil for good is human corruption; to do good for good is civil retribution; but to do good for evil is Christian perfection. Though this be not the grace of nature, it is the nature of grace.
- Archbishop Secker, p. 251
- Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge, and dares to forgive an injury.
- Edwin Hubbell Chapin, p. 251
- By experience; by a sense of human frailty; by a perception of "the soul of goodness in things evil;" by a cheerful trust in human nature; by a strong sense of God's love; by long and disciplined realization of the atoning love of Christ; only thus can we get a free, manly, large, princely spirit of forgiveness.
- F. W. Robertson, p. 252
- In what a delightful communion with God does that man live who habitually seeketh love! With the same mantle thrown over him from the cross — with the same act of amnesty, by which we hope to be saved — injuries the most provoked, and transgressions the most aggravated, are covered in eternal forgetfulness.
- Elias Lyman Magoon, p. 252
- Behold affronts and indignities which the world thinks it right never to pardon, which the Son of God endures with a Divine meekness! Let us cast at the feet of Jesus that false honor, that quick sense of affronts, which exaggerates every thing, and pardons nothing, and, above all, that devilish determination in resenting injuries.
- Queen Elizabeth, p. 252
- A more glorious victory cannot be gained over another man than this, that when the injury began on his part, the kindness should begin on ours.
- Tillotson, p. 252
- For still in mutual sufferance lies
The secret of true living;
Love scarce is love that never knows
The sweetness of forgiving.
- J. G. Whittier, p. 252
Unsourced or mixed (needs cleanup)
- "Assuming you're not pregnant, in jail, and there's no body in your basement, I don't think I'll mind." - Alex Keyes
- "Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean." - Dag Hammarskjold
- "Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it" - Mark Twain
- "Forgiveness is the last resort, after victory seems impossible, or trivial" - Anonymous
- "He who forgives ends the quarrel." - Anonymous
- "If one knows thee not or a blind man scolds thee, do not become angry." - Anonymous (claimed to be an African proverb by The Journal of Negro History, Volume I. Jan. 1916)
- "To understand is not only to pardon, but in the end to love." - Walter Lippmann
- Revenge is the most sincere form of forgiveness. - Italian Proverb.
- "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." - Mahatma Gandhi
- He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me' -- in those who do not harbor such thoughts hatred will cease.
- Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
- Take forgiveness. Two levels here. One level: forgiveness means you shouldn't develop feelings of revenge. Because revenge harms the other person, therefore it is a form of violence. With violence, there is usually counterviolence. This generates even more violence—the problem never goes away. So that is one level. Another level: forgiveness means you should try not to develop feelings of anger toward your enemy. Anger doesn't solve the problem. Anger only brings uncomfortable feelings to yourself. Anger destroys your own peace of mind. Your happy mood never comes, not while anger remains. I think that's the main reason why we should forgive. With calm mind, more peaceful mind, more healthy body. An agitated mind spoils our health, very harmful for body. This is my feeling.
Key Biblical texts on the subject of forgiveness include (here quoted from the w:New International Version):
- "Again Jesus said [to the disciples], "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:21-23)
- "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (w:Matthew 6:12)
- "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you." (w:Matthew 6:14).
- "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us." (Luke 11:4)
- "Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven).'" (Matthew 18:21-22)
- "In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:34-35)
- "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (Mark 11:25)
- "Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37)
- "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." (Luke 17:3)
- "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
- "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'" (Luke 23:34)
- "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22).
Among the Protestant Reformers, John Wesley stated that forgiveness is an "...act of God the Father, hereby, for the sake of the propitiation made by the blood of his Son, he 'showeth forth his righteousness (or mercy)...'". 1 2.
- That he that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man had need to be forgiven.
- Lord Herbert, The Life of Edward Lord Herbert of Cherbury.
- They who forgive most shall be most forgiven.
- Philip James Bailey, Festus.
- The brave only know how to forgive.
- Laurence Sterne, sermon Joseph's History Considered.
- The gospel comes to the sinner at once with nothing short of complete forgiveness as the starting-point of all his efforts to be holy. It does not say, "Go and sin no more, and I will not condemn thee." It says at once, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more."
- Meekness is the grace which, from beneath God's footstool, lifts up a candid and confiding eye, accepting God's smile of Fatherly affection, and adoring those perfections which it cannot comprehend.
- James Hamilton, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 407.
- "Life, that ever needs forgiveness, has, for its first duty, to forgive."
- "Alas! if my best Friend, who laid down His life for me, were to remember all the instances in which I have neglected Him, and to plead them against me in judgment, where should I hide my guilty head in the day of recompense? I will pray, therefore, for blessings on my friends, even though they cease to be so, and upon my enemies, though they continue such."
- "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us."
- The Lord's Prayer
- "God's way of forgiving is thorough and hearty,—both to forgive and to forget; and if thine be not so, thou hast no portion of His."
Verses from the Qur'an
- Indeed! God does not forgive the sin of ascribing partners to Him, but He forgives anything else to whom He pleases, and whoever takes partners with God has gone astray into far error. Qur'an 4:116
- The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah. Qur'an 42:40
- O You who believe! Behold, among your spouses and your children are enemies unto you: so beware of them! But if you pardon [their faults], and forbear, and forgive- then, behold, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Qur'an 64:14.
Traditions of the Prophet
- Abu Kabsha 'Ameri reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
- … and no man pardons an oppression seeking thereby the pleasure of Allah but Allah will increase his honor therewith on the Day of Resurrection.
- Oqbah Ibn 'Amer reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
- you shall keep relationship with one who cut it off from you, you shall give one who disappointed you, and you shall pardon on who oppressed you.
- Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
- Moses son of 'Imran had asked: O my Lord! Who is the best honorable of Thy servants to Thee? He [the God] said: He who pardons when he is in a position of power.
- Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Messenger of Allah taught his followers:
- Narrating the account of one of the prophets [of Allah] whom was assaulted and wounded by his people; while wiping the blood from the face he prayed: 'O Allah! Forgive my people because they do not know.'
Hindus believe in the philosophy of karma. God in the Veda (Yayur-Veda 7:48) states that each and every act good or bad has a consequence. Man is free to do good or bad, sins or pious deeds but result is always rewarded by God. One has to face the result as sorrow or happiness, respectively for a bad deed or good deed. Hindu scriptures state Karman ki gati nayari, tare nahin tahre, which means that there is no way to escape the consequence. Hence, there is no forgiveness. By increasing the good acts in comparison to the bad, one can make it easier on oneself to bear the consequence of a bad act but the consequence of bad act cannot be waived. Through good acts, such as Yajna, one can burn one's sin. But one has to pay for them in some form. Even God does not have the power to just forgive the bad deeds. It is this philosophy that puts control of one's life and life-beyond-life in the hands of oneself. That is why Aham Braham Asmi (Gita) "I am the world (the most powerful)" when it comes about me. So, act as if each and every act of yours will be accounted and in that regard God is Aryama (the supreme judge) (Rig-Veda 1-19-9).
- "It is forbidden to be obdurate and not allow yourself to be appeased. On the contrary, one should be easily pacified and find it difficult to become angry. When asked by an offender for forgiveness, one should forgive with a sincere mind and a willing spirit. . . forgiveness is natural to the seed of Israel. (w:Mishneh Torah, w:Teshuvah 2:10).
- If one who has been wronged by another does not wish to rebuke or speak to the offender – because the offender is simple or confused – then if he sincerely forgives him, neither bearing him ill-will nor administering a reprimand, he acts according to the standard of the pious. (Deot 6:9).
- Who takes vengeance or bears a grudge acts like one who, having cut one hand while handling a knife, avenges himself by stabbing the other hand. (w:Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9.4).