46 Quotes on Forgiveness

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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.

46 Forgiveness Quotes

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

“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

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

“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.

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

“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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

“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

“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

“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

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

hand writing sorry on paper quotes on forgiveness

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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

“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

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

“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

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

“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

“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

“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

“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

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

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

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

“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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

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

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

“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

two men hugging quotes on forgiveness

“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

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

“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

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

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

“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

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

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

“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

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

“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

“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

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

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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.

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