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More than once in your life, you will be hurt by someone’s words or actions.
Perhaps someone cut you off while you’re queuing to pay for your lunch. Perhaps a friend has betrayed you. Probably, someone told you that you’re not good enough for them. Or perhaps when you were little you’ve experienced abuse at the hands of adults who were supposed to take care of you and keep you safe.
Many of us carry the pain of these incidents years after they happened. They fester within you, creating resentment and bitterness.
The writer Anne Lamott described holding a grudge as “drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
It is such a heavy burden to carry and can cost you your own health and happiness. It is more harmful to you than to the offender.
Despite this, people often take forgiveness for granted. They declare that they forgive people but still carry grudges for those who have “wronged” them. These people are not really free. They are prisoners of their own bitterness.
But what is forgiveness? Moreover, how do we forgive?
People have different definitions of forgiveness. Generally speaking, it is when you choose to let go of bitterness, anger, and resentment you feel towards those who treated you unfairly. It is not condoning or excusing the wrongdoing done to you.
The positive benefits of forgiveness on your mental and physical health include the following:
So, knowing these benefits, how do we forgive those who wronged us?
To move to a forgiving state, the first step is to process how you feel — explore the reasons why you are angry or hurt. (These anger management worksheets may help.) Realize that it is possible to forgive those who treated you wrongly. Choose to forgive. If possible, inform the people involved that you are choosing to forgive them. Through this, you will attain true freedom.
In this article, we present 91 forgiveness quotes to inspire you to soften your heart and let go of the pain that haunts you from the unfairness you’ve experienced. The handpicked pithy sayings include the power of forgiveness quotes, quotes about forgiving someone you love, and asking for forgiveness quotes.
First, we present the power of forgiveness quotes. Get inspired to let go of the pain you feel through the words of wisdom from people who have been there before. The following quotes show you how powerful forgiveness can be.
The Power of Forgiveness Quotes
- “Don’t ever underestimate the power of forgiveness. I’ve seen it free people. I’ve seen it life burdens that had weighed them down and kept them from moving on.”– Buffy Andrews
- “True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.’”– Oprah Winfrey
- “Forgiveness should start now. Putting off forgiving only deepens the wound. Clinging to bitterness postpones happiness. Life is short, time is fleeting. Today is the day to forgive.”– Wilfred Peterson
- “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”– Corrie Ten Boom
- “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 has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being victim — letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”– C. R. Strahan
- “Listen. Slide the weight from your shoulders and move forward. You are afraid that you might forget, but you never will. You will forgive and remember.”– Barbara Kingsolver
- “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”– Mahatma Gandhi
- “To err is human; to forgive is divine.”– Alexander Pope
- “Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.”– Hannah Arendt
“Forgiving what we cannot forgive creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”– Lewis Smedes
- “Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.”– Thomas S. Manson
- “There is nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness.”– John Connolly
- “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”– Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “It can be hard to forgive and let go but it’s important to remember that harboring the resentment and holding a grudge can hurt you even more. The word ‘forgive’ really means to give something up for yourself not for them.”– Jack Canfield
- “Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours.”– Phillips Brooks
- “Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”– Nelson Mandela
“When you forgive, you in no way change the past — but you sure do change the future.”– Bernard Meltzer
- “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”– Mark Twain
- “Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.”– Indira Gandhi
- “Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.”– Gary Chapman
- “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
- “Forgiveness is the final form of love.”– Reinhold Niebuhr
“Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”– Jonathan Huie
Has any of the quotes above convinced you to release the bitterness you feel?
Often it is someone we love who will hurt us more deeply. Relationships get broken over betrayals and unkind words or deeds. Often, these are no longer mended, and you drift away from people you care about.
The following quotes about forgiving someone you love will help remind you that it is in relationships that you will often be required to forgive and forget.
Quotes About Forgiving Someone You Love
- “If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.”– Mother Teresa
- “Forgiveness is a sign that the person who has wronged you means more to you than the wrong they have dealt.”– Ben Greenhalgh
- “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”– Bryant H. McGill
- “Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”– Marvin J. Ashton
- “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”– Robert Quillen
- “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
- “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
- “Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.”– Anonymous
- “What I cannot love, I overlook.”– Anaïs Nin
“A broken friendship that is mended through forgiveness can be even stronger than it once was.”– Stephen Richards
- “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”– Abraham Lincoln
- “Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you are.”– Cherie Carter-Scott
- “Sometimes what a person needs most is to be forgiven.”– Jennifer McMahon
- “Three months ago, if you asked me, I would have told you that if you really loved someone, you’d let the go. But now I look at you, and I dreamed about Maggie, and I see that I’ve been wrong. If you really love someone, Allie, I think you take them back.”– Jodi Picoult
- “… In love, everyone does things that hurt the other person, so there is really no ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’. You just have to decide what you’re willing to forgive.”– Yvonne Wood
- “You cannot forgive just once, forgiveness is a daily practice.”– Sonia Rumzi
- “Nothing releases like forgive. Nothing renews like forget.”– Ray A. Davis
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”– Gautama Buddha
- “To forgive is wisdom, to forget is genius. Because it’s true. It’s a new world every heartbeat.”– Joyce Cary
- “Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.”– George MacDonald
- “If he can’t handle you at your worst then he does not deserve you at your best. Real love means seeing beyond the words spoken out of pain, and instead seeing a person’s soul.”– Shannon L. Alder
- “Like a loving spouse who occasionally doesn’t feel so loving, we ask for forgiveness and come back into relationship.”– Laurie Penner
There is an art in asking for forgiveness. And so much is required before, during, and after you say sorry.
The most important rules of forgiveness to remember are these:
Be ready for change when you offer or accept an apology.
The following asking for forgiveness quotes give us the indicators and requirements when making an apology.
Sidenote: If you’re the one apologizing, here’s how to write an apology letter.
Asking For Forgiveness Quotes
- “But sorry is the Kool-Aid of human emotions. True sorrow is as rare as true love.”– Stephen King
- “Saying ‘I’m sorry’ is saying ‘I love you’ with a wounded heart in one hand and your smothered pride in the other.”– Richelle E. Goodrich
- “Apologizing does not always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value your relationship more than your ego.”– Unknown
- “Forgive me. Forgive this fool. Sorry that I acted so cruel. I love you and love only you. Take my hand and let’s start anew.”– Gabrielle Yana Concepcion
- “Let us forgive each other — only then will we live in peace.”– Leo Tolstoy
- “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”– Bruce Lee
- “I have learned that sometimes ‘sorry’ is not enough. Sometimes you actually have to change.”– Claire London
- “I’m not perfect. Remember that, and try to forgive me when I fail you.”– Elizabeth Lowell
- “Never forget the nine most important words of any family — I love you. You are beautiful. Please forgive me.”– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
- “In this life, when you deny someone an apology, you will remember it at time you beg forgiveness.”– Toba Beta
“It takes a strong person to say sorry, and an ever stronger person to forgive.”– Unknown
- “Would ‘sorry’ have made a difference? Does it ever? It’s just a word. One word against a thousand actions.”– Sarah Ockler
- “An apology is the super glue of life. It can repair just about anything.”– Lynn Johnston
- “More people should apologize, and more people should accept apologies when sincerely made.”– Greg LeMond
- “In some families, please is described as the magic word. In our house, however, it was sorry.”– Margaret Laurence
- “Any good apology has 3 parts: 1) I’m sorry; 2) It’s my fault; 3) What can I do to make it right? Most people forget the third part.”– Unknown
- “We ask for forgiveness. And we forgive others who ask us. In that way we can experience healing, healing in our souls.”– Ed Dobsons
“Certainly people make mistakes in their life. I’m no different, I’ve made mistakes. When people mess up, forgive them. When I mess up, I ask for forgiveness.”– Michele Bachmann
- “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn’t work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.” – Emo Philips
- “Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.” – Billy Graham
- “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy
- “Take forgiveness slowly. Don’t blame yourself for being slow. Peace will come.” – Yoko Ono
- “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
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boose
- “It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” – Maya Angelou
- “Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” – Desmond Tutu
- “Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future’.” – Jodi Picoult
- “Life is so short. The only person you hurt when you stay angry or hold grudges is you. Forgive everyone, including yourself.” – Tom Giaquinto
- “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
- “All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness. The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.” – Dalai Lama
- “Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.” – William Arthur Ward
- “Surely it is much more generous to forgive and remember, than to forgive and forget.” – Maria Edgeworth
- “We forgive so long as we love.” – Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld
“You’ll never know how strong your heart is until you learn to forgive who broke it.” – Anonymous
- “The remedy for life’s broken pieces is not classes, workshops or books. Don’t try to heal the broken pieces. Just forgive.” – Iyanla Vanzant
- “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
- “Forgiveness is above all a personal choice, a decision of the heart to go against natural instinct to pay back evil with evil.” – Pope John Paul II
- “We learn our lessons; we get hurt; we want revenge. Then we realize that actually, happiness and forgiving people is the best revenge.” – Madonna
- “Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” – Hannah More
- “Anger begets more anger, and forgiveness and love lead to more forgiveness and love.” – Mahavira
- “Forgiveness is a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on.” – Steve Maraboli
Grace Notes on Forgiveness Quotes
After reading the quotes about forgiveness, we hope that you were inspired to choose to forgive someone who has done you wrong, as well as encourage you to ask for forgiveness when you have unfairly treated others.
To further help you maximize the positive benefits of forgiving others, it is helpful to make a list of your experiences you feel and know that you were treated unfairly.
Start forgiving the offenders. It will not be an easy task, mind you, but it is something that will give you peace of mind.
A reminder: Forgiveness should not only be bestowed on other people. You must learn how to forgive yourself as well. Burn the boats that tie you negative feelings. Is it as liberating as forgiving another human being.
If any of the quotes from this article resonated with you, we’d love to hear about your experience. Please write them in the comments below.
In addition, if you loved any of the artworks featured today, sharing it through your favorite social media is very much appreciated.
If today’s article inspired you to let go of the past, check out this post to learn how to live in the present moment through mindfulness. You can also check out our curated list of songs about forgiveness for more inspiration.
Finally, if you want to use these quotes to make a lasting change to your life, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what’s truly important to you..