Forgiveness Quotes to Help You Forgive

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Being able to forgive is one of the healthiest emotions in the world. At times, we even need to forgive ourselves. These forgiveness quotes will show you how to start.

Forgiveness is a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward someone who has harmed you, whether they deserve it or not.

Your capacity for forgiveness often says much more about you than the person you are forgiving.

Forgiveness doesn’t have to mean reconciliation.

When we are wronged by a friend or family member, our relationship may be damaged beyond repair, but letting go of resentment and moving on with our lives is a much healthier outcome.

Here are the best forgiveness quotes to inspire you to be forgiving. Whether you’ve just been slighted, or want to let go of long-held resentment, you’ll find the perfect quote to sum up your feelings and help you to move on.

Forgiveness Quotes

Alexander Pope forgiveness quote "To err is human, to forgive, divine"
“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

Thomas Szasz

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

It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.

Steve Maraboli

True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience.’

Oprah Winfrey
JFK quote "Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names"
“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy

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

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

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

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

It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.

Maya Angelou
"Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another"
“Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” – Emma Goldman

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.

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

To understand somebody else as a human being, I think, is about as close to real forgiveness as one can get.

David Small

Beware of the man who does not return your blow: he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.

H. Jackson Brown Jr.
"Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them"
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.

Francis of Assisi

Forgive me my nonsense, as I also forgive the nonsense of those that think they talk sense.

Robert Frost

Because forgiveness is like this: a room can be dank because you have closed the windows, you’ve closed the curtains. But the sun is shining outside, and the air is fresh outside. In order to get that fresh air, you have to get up and open the window and draw the curtains apart.

Desmond Tutu

Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.

Oscar Wilde

Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.

Anne Lamott
Les Brown forgiveness quote "Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on"
“Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on.” – Les Brown

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.

Mark Twain

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

Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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 in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive"
“Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive.” – William Paul Young

When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines upon you.

John Krakauer

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

Forgive those who have hurt you.

Les Brown

Nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge.

Scott Adams

He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven.

George Herbert
Princess Diana quote "When you are happy you can forgive a great deal"
“When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.” – Princess Diana

And you know, when you’ve experienced grace and you feel like you’ve been forgiven, you’re a lot more forgiving of other people. You’re a lot more gracious to others.

Rick Warren

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 Hammarskjold

I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note – torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.

Henry Ward Beecher

One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything every night before you go to bed.

Bernard Baruch
Norman Cousins quote "Life is an adventure in forgiveness"
“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” – Norman Cousins

Sins cannot be undone, only forgiven.

Igor Stravinsky

If there are occasions when my grape turned into a raisin and my joy bell lost its resonance, please forgive me. Charge it to my head and not to my heart.

Jesse Jackson

I shall be an autocrat: that’s my trade. And the good Lord will forgive me: that’s his.

Catherine the Great

Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving another.

Jean Paul

To confer dignity, forgive. To express contempt, forget.

Mason Cooley
Josh Billings forgiveness quote "There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness"
“There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.” – Josh Billings

The ineffable joy of forgiving and being forgiven forms an ecstasy that might well arouse the envy of the gods.

Elbert Hubbard

Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.

Billy Graham

Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

Jane Austen

One forgives to the degree that one loves.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

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
MLK quote "Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude"
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

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, The Kite Runner

Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.

Oprah Winfrey

I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

But if you forgive someone for something they did to you, it doesn’t mean you agree with what they did or believe it was right. Forgiving that person means you have chosen not to dwell on the matter anymore; you have moved on with your life.

Idowu Koyenikan

We don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it—because we need it.

Bree Despain
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you"
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes

I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.

C.S. Lewis

Forgiveness is God’s greatest gift

Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code

The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.

Marianne Williamson

Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back. You’re done.

Anne Lamott

Every year during their High Holy Days, the Jewish community reminds us all of our need for repentance and forgiveness.

Billy Graham
"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much"
“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.” – Oscar Wilde

Forgiveness is not to give the other person peace. Forgiveness is for you. Take that opportunity.

Mackenzie Phillips

If there are dreams about a beautiful South Africa, there are also roads that lead to their goal. Two of these roads could be named Goodness and Forgiveness.

Nelson Mandela

It’s far easier to forgive an enemy after you’ve got even with him.


Forgiveness is that subtle thread that binds both love and friendship. Without forgiveness, you may not even have a child one day.

George Foreman

Forgiveness to the injured does belong; but they ne’er pardon who have done wrong.

John Dryden
"Forgiveness provides hope, joy, and a bright future that nothing else can"
“Forgiveness provides hope, joy, and a bright future that nothing else can.” – Paul J. Meyer

Just knowing you don’t have the answers is a recipe for humility, openness, acceptance, forgiveness, and an eagerness to learn – and those are all good things.

Dick Van Dyke

See, forgiveness doesn’t happen all at once. It’s not an event — it’s a process. Forgiveness happens while you’re asleep, while you’re dreaming, while you’re inline at the coffee shop, while you’re showering, eating, farting… It happens in the back of your mind, and then one day you realize that you don’t hate the person anymore, that your anger has gone away somewhere. And you understand. You’ve forgiven them. You don’t know how or why. It sneaked up on you. It happened in the small spaces between thoughts and in the seconds between ideas and blinks. That’s where forgiveness happens.

Barry Lyga
Steve Maraboli quote "Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient"
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” – Steve Maraboli

We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore.

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Most of us can forgive and forget; we just don’t want the other person to forget that we forgave.

Ivern Ball

As long as you don’t forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy a rent-free space in your mind.

Isabelle Holland

The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant toward others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.

Eric Hoffer

A broken friendship that is mended through forgiveness can be even stronger than it once was.

Stephen Richards
Hannah Arendt quote "Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom"
“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.” – Hannah Arendt

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

Abraham Lincoln

Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.

Jonathan Huie

Forgiveness is the final form of love.

Reinhold Niebuhr

God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness.

Henry Ward Beecher

Choosing forgiveness opens the door of your heart and makes way for a miracle in your life.

Victoria Osteen
George MacDonald quote "Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life"
“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.” – George MacDonald

Forgiveness is about empowering yourself, rather than empowering your past.

T.D. Jakes

I like cast iron coated with enamel for longevity and forgiveness if I happen to take my eyes off the prize while pouring Chianti.

Mario Batali

Forgiveness takes time. It is the last step of the grieving process.

Elin Nordegren

There is freedom in forgiveness, and it’s not that hard to do once you get into the habit.

Dana Perino

As we know, forgiveness of oneself is the hardest of all the forgivenesses.

Joan Baez
"I am 100% in the camp that says forgiveness is mostly about the forgiver"
“I am 100% in the camp that says forgiveness is mostly about the forgiver.” – Hillary Clinton

Can you really forgive if you can’t forget?

Sarah Jessica Parker

It’s said in Hollywood that you should always forgive your enemies – because you never know when you’ll have to work with them.

Lana Turner

Acceptance and tolerance and forgiveness, those are life-altering lessons.

Jessica Lange

Forgiveness really is so misunderstood, as well as the power it can release in an individual.

Jennifer O’Neill

You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.

Lewis B. Smedes
Ben Affleck forgiveness quote "I find forgiveness to be really healthy"
“I find forgiveness to be really healthy.” – Ben Affleck

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 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 Boom

Life is grace. Sleep is forgiveness. The night absolves. Darkness wipes the slate clean, not spotless to be sure, but clean enough for another day’s chalking.

Frederick Buechner

It’s far easier to forgive an enemy after you’ve got even with him.

Olin Miller

God’s forgiveness allows us to be honest with ourselves. We recognize our imperfections, admit our failures, and plead to God for clemency.

Jonathan Sacks
Suzanne Somers quote "Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself"
“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.” – Suzanne Somers

Forgive many things in others; nothing in yourself.


We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.

Sir Francis Bacon

Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it.

Robin Sharma

To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.

Robert Muller

The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person.

Louise L. Hay
Alfred Korzybski forgivenesss quote "God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won't"
“God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won’t.” – Alfred Korzybski

To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.


Forgiveness is a sign that the person who has wronged you means more to you than the wrong they have dealt.

Ben Greenhalgh

We win by tenderness. We conquer by forgiveness.

Frederick William Robertson

When a deep injury is done us, we never recover until we forgive.

Alan Paton

To understand is to forgive, even oneself.

Alexander Chase
Paul Boose quote "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future"
“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boose

I believe in forgiveness; I believe in trying to work with people.

John Lewis

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

The only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy.

William Hazlitt

It is surely better to pardon too much, than to condemn too much.

George Eliot

Forgiveness is too easy. I can forget by indifference, but not forgive. I prefer revenge.

Karl Lagerfeld
Arthur Balfour forgiveness quote "I never forgive, but I always forget"
“I never forgive, but I always forget.” – Arthur Balfour

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

Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.

Roberto Assagioli

Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours.

Philips Brooks

Forgotten is forgiven.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.

Bryant H. McGill
"Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning"
“Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.” – Desmond Tutu

Forgiveness is the remission of sins. For it is by this that what has been lost, and was found, is saved from being lost again.

St. Augustine

How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.

Publilius Syrus

America loves a forgiveness story. America is the land of second chances.

Michael Caputo

I’m all about preaching forgiveness and compassion.

Michel de la Montaigne

Forgiveness is for yourself because it frees you. It lets you out of that prison you put yourself in.

Louise L. Hay
"Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting"
“Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.” – William Arthur Ward

Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.

Isaac Friedmann

True forgiveness is not an action after the fact, it is an attitude with which you enter each moment.

David Ridge

If you can’t forgive and forget, pick one.

Robert Brault

Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.

Will Smith
William Blake quote "It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend"
“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.” – William Blake

Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.

Marlene Dietrich

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.

Katherine Ponder

Wise man say: forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.

Michelangelo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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
Mason nCooley quote "Forgiveness is like faith. You have to keep reviving it"
“Forgiveness is like faith. You have to keep reviving it.” – Mason Cooley

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

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.

A life lived without forgiveness is a prison.

William Arthur Ward

Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you are.

Cherie Carter Scott
Tolstoy forgiveness quote "Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace"
“Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.” – Leo Tolstoy

We hope you’ve enjoyed these forgiveness quotes!

Wherever you are on your road to forgiveness, keep focusing on how good it feels to let go of your resentment and release yourself and others.

Photo of author

Natalie Seale

Natalie Seale is a writer and researcher with an MA, MSc, and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh. Natalie is an avid reader, a keen traveller, and enjoys cooking and walking with her English Spaniel. Her posts focus on inspiring ideas and tips that help people learn, gro, and inspire others.

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