105 Compassionate Quotes On Forgiveness

What can some quotes do to help you forgive someone and let go of the past?

No matter how strong you are, anger and resentment drain you of energy and keep you stuck.

And you want more out of life.

The forgiveness quotes that follow come from the minds and hearts of others who have struggled to forgive.

Because it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Give their words a chance to meet you where you are.

How To Use These Forgiveness Quotes

Forgiveness is vital if you want to live your best possible life. Making peace with the painful past will set you free, allowing you to be the person you want to be — and forgiveness quotes can help.

Below, we’ve outlined a few ideas for leveraging these phrases to help you heal.

  • Journal Prompts: Journaling is a fantastic way to destress and objectively analyze your thoughts. Use these “forgive someone who hurt you quotes” as prompts for your sessions. Only use one per session for maximum effect. 
  • Meditation Subject: Meditating isn’t only about clearing your mind. Analytical mindfulness sessions are about the opposite: hyper-focusing on a single idea or thought. 
  • Create Graphics To Share: Have you ever come across a quote on social media that deeply touched you? Consider giving that feeling to someone else by making and posting a shareable quote graphic. 
  • Create Art for Yourself: Even if you’re not artistic in the traditional sense, tap into your creative side and create a piece that represents a meaningful quote. It doesn’t need to be beautiful; the act of creating, in and of itself, can be helpful when processing feelings and emotions.

105 Forgiveness Quotes

1. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
― Martin Luther King, Jr.

2. “Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

3. “The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.”
― Steve Maraboli

4. “When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear…. When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.” ― Gerald G. Jampolsky

5. “Listen. Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember.”
― Barbara Kingsolver

6. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ― Corrie Ten Boom

7. “But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withhold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest.” ― Margaret Atwood

8. “I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.” ― Khaled Hosseini

9. “What I cannot love, I overlook.” ― Anais Nin

10. “People have to forgive. We don't have to like them, we don't have to be friends with them, we don't have to send them hearts in text messages, but we have to forgive them, to overlook, to forget. Because if we don't we are tying rocks to our feet, too much for our wings to carry!” ― C. JoyBell C.

11. “Sometimes what a person needs most is to be forgiven.” ― Jennifer McMahon

12. “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” ― Oprah Winfrey

13. “Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business. Not to forgive is to yield oneself to another's control… to be locked into a sequence of act and response, of outrage and revenge, tit for tat, escalating always. The present is endlessly overwhelmed and devoured by the past. Forgiveness frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else's nightmare.”
― Lance Morrow

14. “It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the things we should have done.” ― Mitch Albom

15. “Forgiveness is the final form of love.” ― Reinhold Niebuhr

16. “When we forgive, the slave we free is ourselves.” ― Edward M. Hallowell

17. “Always forgive, but never forget, else you will be a prisoner of your own hatred, and doomed to repeat your mistakes forever.” ― Wil Zeus

18. “Forgiveness is a personal process that doesn’t depend on us having direct contact with the people who have hurt us.” ― Sharon Salzberg

19. “Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.” ― Criss Jami

20. “Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else; it's something you do for yourself. To forgive is not to condone, it is to refuse to continue feeling bad about an injury.” ― Jim Beaver

21. “Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record.” ― Rick Warren

22. “Each one of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done.” ― Sheryl Sandberg

23. “A life lived without forgiveness is a prison.” ― William Arthur Ward

24. “Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.” ― C.S. Lewis

25. “Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim – letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.” ― C.R. Strahan

26. “Do not be concerned with the faults of other persons. Do not see others' faults with a hateful mind. There is an old saying that if you stop seeing others' faults, then naturally seniors and venerated and juniors are revered. Do not imitate others' faults; just cultivate virtue.” ― Zen Master Dogen

27. “There isn't time, so brief is life, for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.” ― Mark Twain

28. “To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when
everything seems hopeless.”
― G.K. Chesterton

29. “Letting ourselves be forgiven is one of the most difficult healings we will undertake. And one of the most fruitful.” ― Stephen Levine

30. “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.” ― Corrie Ten Boo

31. “One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.” ― Socrates

32. “The practice of forgiveness is very much like the practice of meditation. You have to do it often and persist at it in order to be any good.” ― Katerina Stoykova Klemer

33. “Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” ― Hannah More

34. “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 made clean again.” ― Dag Hammarskjöld

35. “Still, we will let all this be a thing of the past, though it hurts us, and beat down by constraint the anger that rises inside us. Now I am making an end of my anger. It does not become me, unrelentingly to rage on.” ― Homer

36. “In the shadow of my hurt, forgiveness feel like a decision to reward my enemy. But in the shadow of the cross, forgiveness is merely a gift from one undeserving soul to another.” ― Andy Stanley

37. “Love people who hate you. Pray for people who have wronged you. It won’t just change their life…it’ll change yours.” ― Mandy Hale

38. “We learn our lessons; we get hurt; we want revenge. Then we realize that actually, happiness and forgiving people is the best revenge.” ― Madonna

39. “We don't forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it – because we need it.” ― Bree Despain

40. “The 3 most powerful resources you have available to you: love, prayer and forgiveness.” ― H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

41. “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You're done. It doesn't necessarily mean that you want to have lunch with the person. If you keep hitting back, you stay trapped in the nightmare…”
― Anne Lamott

42. “That's one of the things we learn as we grow older – how to forgive. It comes easier at forty than it did at twenty.” ― L.M. Montgomery

43. “Forgiveness is the key to the heart's shackles.” ― Richard Paul Evans

44. “We live on because we can love, and we love because we can forgive.” ― Gregory David Roberts

45. “Forgiveness is really just another word for freedom.” ― Julie Lessman

46. “Sometimes people need to know they could be forgiven to have the strength to change.” ― J. Leigh Bralick

47. “Life is so short. The only person you hurt when you stay angry or hold grudges is you. Forgive everyone, including yourself.” ― Tom Giaquinto

48. “Don't wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving; you will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made.” ― Neil Anderson

49. “Forgiveness is not an emotion, it's a decision.” ― Randall Worley

50. “It is surely better to pardon too much, than to condemn too much.” ― George Eliot

51. “Unforgiveness denies the victim the possibility of parole and leaves them stuck in the prison of what was, incarcerating them in their trauma and relinquishing the chance to escape beyond the pain.” ― T. D. Jakes

52. “You should never hate anyone, not even your worst enemies. Everyone has something good about them. You had to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.” ― Jeannette Walls

53. “I've never heard anyone say ‘I wish I hadn't forgiven.’” ― Katerina Stoykova Klemer

54. “The point is that although love may die, what is said on its behalf cannot be consumed by the passage of time, and forgiveness is everything.” ― Charles Baxter

55. “Forgiving someone isn't just about doing good to another. It's also about healing a scar in your own heart.” ― Nouman Ali Khan

56. “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” ― Coretta Scott King

57. “Don't we all deserve forgiveness? I hope we do; I believe we do. Forgiveness says as much about the character of the person bestowing it as the person receiving it. Learning to forgive may be the most difficult of human acts,and the closest thing to divinity, whatever you decide that is.” ― Justin Cronin

58. “Forgiveness without understanding is like faith without proof.”
― Jessica Francis Kane

59. “We forgive so long as we love.” ― Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld

60. “Love as a concrete foundation for an authentically functional civilization requires the around-the-clock labors of forgiveness. Without it, love fails, friendship fails, intelligence fails, Humanity: fails.” ― Aberjhani

61. “Forgiveness is the only way to reverse the irreversible flow of history.” ― Hannah Arendt

62. “The willingness to forgive is a sign of spiritual and emotional maturity. It is one of the great virtues to which we all should aspire. Imagine a world filled with individuals willing both to apologize and to accept an apology. Is there any problem that could not be solved among people who possessed the humility and largeness of spirit and soul to do either – or both – when needed?” ― Gordon B. Hinckley

63. “Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.” ― Gerald G. Jampolsky

64. “To forgive is wisdom, to forget is genius. And easier. Because it's true. It's a new world every heartbeat.” ― Joyce Cary

65. “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” – Oprah Winfrey

66. “I wish you have eyes that see the best, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad, and a soul that never loses faith.” ― Anonymous

67. “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” – Bryant H. McGill

68. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi

69. “Forgiveness simply means loving someone enough to pursue healing instead of punishment when they have wronged you.” – Dave Willis

70. “I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they’re sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.” – Yolanda Hadid

71. “It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend.” -William Blake

72. “Hate has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou

73. “If you can’t forgive and forget, pick one.”- Robert Brault

74. “The most important thing that I learned in growing up is that forgiveness is something that, when you do it, you free yourself to move on.” – Tyler Perry

75. “Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this. Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.” ― Robert Jordan

76. “Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.” ― Isaac Friedmann

77. “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” — Marianne Williamson

78. “If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.” — Mother Teresa

79. “I forgive, but I also learn a lesson. I won’t hate you, but I’ll never get close enough for you to hurt me again. I can’t let my forgiveness become foolishness.” – Tony Gaskins

80. “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” – Robert Muller

81. “Forgive but do not forget, or you will be hurt again. Forgiving changes the perspectives, forgetting loses the lesson.” – Paulo Coelho

82. “Please forgive me, I know not what I do. Please forgive me, I can’t stop loving you.” – Bryan Adams

83. “There is nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.” – John Connolly

84. “Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours.” –Phillips Brooks

85. “What is forgiven is usually well remembered.” – Louis Dudek

86. “We read that we ought to forgive our enemies, but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.” — Sir Francis Bacon

87. “Most of us can forgive and forget; we just don't want the other person to forget that we forgave.” — Ivern Ball

88. “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” — Anne Lamott

89. “Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” — Emma Goldman

90. “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” — Thomas Szasz

91. “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” — Confucius

92. “Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” — Roberto Assagioli

93. “True forgiveness is not an action after the fact, it is an attitude with which you enter each moment.” — David Ridge

94. “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” Tony Robbins

95. “Forgiveness is like faith. You have to keep reviving it.” — Mason Cooley

96. “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” — Mark Twain

97. “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” —Abraham Lincoln

98. “Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.”— George MacDonald

99. “Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energy moving forward together towards an answer.” — Denis Waitley

100. “It's not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.” — Tyler Perry

101. “Forgiveness is not about the other person or what they did. Forgiveness is for YOU and about YOU.” — Iyanla Vanzant

102. “It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” — Maya Angelou

103. “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” — John F. Kennedy

104. “Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.” — Lewis B. Smedes

105. “I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator. Forgiveness liberates the victim. It’s a gift you give yourself.” – T.D. Jakes

Did these forgiveness quotes inspire you to forgive?

Now that you’ve gotten to this point, which of the forgiveness quotes gave you something to think about?

And who will you remember them on those days when it’s harder to forgive?

Here are some ideas:

  • Create some wall art with a favorite poster and hang it somewhere you’ll see it.
  • Create a gift with a favorite forgiveness quote and give it to someone you’ve forgiven.
  • Have a mug or glass created with a favorite quote and use it to enjoy a favorite drink.

However, you remind yourself to forgive and let go, remember that in doing so, you’re freeing yourself to become the person you want to be.

Just don’t forget to forgive yourself, too.

It's easy to carry pain and bad memories from the past. Get inspiration to forgive others from these 64 forgiveness quotes we've curated for you.