Forgiving someone who has wronged us can be difficult, seemingly impossible, but if we don’t, negative feelings can prevent us from moving forward in life. Anger, resentment, and bitterness towards our offenders can affect our physical health and limit our potential. For example, if we’re stuck in an unresolved conflict with someone, thoughts about it can be all-consuming and cause stress, stopping us from focusing on an important personal goal.
So when we forgive, no matter how difficult, we experience the freedom to be all we can be and live our best life.
“Remember that a life well lived is your best revenge. Instead of focusing on your wounded feelings, and thereby giving the person who caused you pain power over you, learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you. Forgiveness is about personal power,” writes Forgiveness Expert Fred Luskin in the eighth step of his “Nine Steps to Forgiveness”.
Forgiveness is about personal power because once we forgive someone, we’ve taken our lives back. We’ve declared that our own well-being, happiness, peace of mind, and potential—whatever is at stake, is more important than the life circumstance. We’ve declared that we will not let anger, resentment or bitterness live inside us. We’ve declared, I’ll rise above the hurt. We’ve declared, “I’m finished” (see quote #33 by Maya Angelou).
To encourage the practice of forgiving to help us move forward and create a better life, here are 33 quotes on forgiveness:
1. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
2. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” ~Alexander Pope
4. “The man who opts for revenge should dig two graves.” ~Chinese Proverb
5. “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.” ~Buddha
6. “When we hate our enemies, we are giving them power over us: power over our sleep, our appetites, our blood pressure, our health and our happiness. Our enemies would dance with joy if only they knew how they were worrying us, lacerating us, and getting even with us! Our hate is not hurting them at all, but our hate is turning our days and nights into a hellish turmoil.” ~Dale Carnegie
7. “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” ~Mark Twain
8. “Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
9. “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” ~Paul Boese
10. “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” ~Oscar Wilde
11. “If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” ~Mother Teresa
12. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ~Lewis B. Smedes
13. “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
14. “Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.” ~William A. Ward
15. “Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.” ~Cherie Carter-Scott
16. “We may not know how to forgive, and we may not want to forgive; but the very fact we say we are willing to forgive begins the healing practice.” ~Louise Hay
17. “Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.” ~Leo Tolstoy
18. “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
19. “Language does have the power to change reality. Therefore, treat your words as the mighty instruments they are – to heal, to bring into being, to remove, as if by magic, the terrible violations of childhood, to nurture, to cherish, to bless, to forgive – to create from the whole cloth of your soul, true love.” ~Daphne Rose Kingma
20. “Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.” –Thomas S. Manson
21. “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.” ~Lily Tomlin
22. “In our society, forgiveness is often seen as weakness. People who forgive those who have hurt them or their family are made to look as if they really don’t care about their loved ones. But forgiveness is tremendous strength. It is the action of someone who refuses to be consumed by hatred and revenge.” ~Helen Prejean
23. “When you forgive, you in no way change the past—but you sure do change the future.” ~Bernard Meltzer
24. “Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offence up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.” ~Gary Chapman
25. “When we don’t forgive, we’re not hurting the other person. We’re not hurting the company that did us wrong. We’re not hurting God. We’re only hurting ourselves.” ~Joel Osteen
26. “Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.” ~Indira Gandhi
27. “Forgiveness is a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on.” ~Dr. Steve Maraboli
28. “Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness but because you deserve peace.” ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie
29. “Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” ~Marianne Williamson
30. “Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” ~Desmond Tutu
31. “Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.” ~Marvin J. Ashton
32. “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
33. “You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.’” ~Maya Angelou
What’s your favorite forgiveness quote? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!