100 Exceptional Forgiveness Quotes


One unfortunate aspect of life is that we all make mistakes and in doing so sometimes hurt other individuals. Similarly, the people we meet throughout life may leave emotional, or in severe cases, physical scars. Even though we and others may regret our actions later on, the damage cannot be undone. Often times, a long and painful process of vengefulness, regret, and emotional turmoil follows. Forgiveness may often be the only thing that helps us to let go and move on with our lives. The following collection of truly remarkable forgiveness quotes highlights the importance of moving on from what has happened in the past. (You may also like our article about How to Forgive and Let Go.)

Life confronts us sometimes with intense emotional or physical pain that is neither easy to forget nor forgive. Consequently, it’s only natural to feel resentment, anger, and bitterness towards those who have wronged us.

“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.”

While this mixture of negative emotions towards what happened is only natural, it will prevent you from ever moving on with your life. For the sake of your emotional well-being, there will have to come the time when you are ready to forgive and move on. Ideally, you also find the courage to say “I’m sorry” when you’ve offended or hurt someone (see also our Quotes to Help You Apologize).


Enjoy these powerful quotes about forgiveness

Contrary to many people’s belief, forgiveness does not imply reconciliation. Similarly, it does not even mean that the act of forgiving is legally or morally justified. It simply means that you are willing to let go of the resentment that torments you. It also means that you have made the conscious decision to accept what happened and to move on with your life.

100 Exceptional Forgiveness Quotes to Forgive and Let Go

No matter how difficult it may seem, never forget that you are not alone. Quite the contrary, many of the greatest individuals that ever lived were confronted with similarly painful situations. Interestingly enough, what makes them so remarkable is their ability to draw strength and courage from the negative happenstance in their lives. This is why the following list of forgiveness quotes is so powerful. All the statements in the following are written by people who had to find ways to deal with what happened to move on with their lives. Not for the sake of the offender, but for the sake of themselves.

Here’s our collection of forgiveness quotes


Quote about forgiving

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”
Alexander Pope


Forgive to move on

“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


The strength of forgiving

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


Quote about forgiving

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
C.S. Lewis


Forgive quote

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


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


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


“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


“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.”
Kent M. Keith


“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.”
Gordon B. Hinckley


“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”


“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


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


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


“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


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


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


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


“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


“When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines upon you.”
Jon Krakauer


“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


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


“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
Oscar Wilde


“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


“Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. But should they finally confess and repent, you will discover a miracle in your own heart that allows you to reach out and begin to build between you a bridge of reconciliation.”
William P. Young


“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 frees the forgiver. It extracts the forgiver from someone else’s nightmare.”
Lance Morrow


“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


“A heart filled with anger has no room for love.”
Joan Lunden


“I have learned, that the person I have to ask for forgiveness from the most is: myself. You must love yourself. You have to forgive yourself, everyday, whenever you remember a shortcoming.”
C. JoyBell C.


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


“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Nelson Mandela


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


“Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past, by old grievances that do not permit life to proceed with new business.”
Lance Morrow


“We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness. „
Ellen Goodman


“I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
Nelson Mandela


“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


“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


“A merciful heart beats contently stronger than many vengeful ones”
Munia Khan


“Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.”
Robert Jordan


“A genuine apology is like an eleventh-hour rain on a dusty crop. Grossly overdue, but miraculously just in time.”
Jacqueline A Bussie


“Some people are in such utter darkness that they will burn you just to see a light. Try not to take it personally.”
Kamand Kojouri


“It is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.”
Wendell Berry


“The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.”
Charles Spurgeon


“The art of a sincere and heartfelt apology is one of the greatest skills you will ever learn.”
Jeanette LeBlanc


“Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”
Benjamin Franklin


“You cannot conceive, nor can I, of the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”
Graham Greene


“Mercy is the stuff you give to people that don’t deserve it.”
Joyce Meyer


“An apology is the superglue of life! It can repair just about anything!!”
Lynn Johnston


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


“We don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it—because we need it.”
Bree Despain


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


“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
Oscar Wilde


“Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will be the same again.”
W. Paul Young


“Allow yourself to feel anger, allow your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human.”
C. JoyBell C.


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


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


“There is hope in forgiveness”
John Piper


“Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice. The price you must pay for your own liberation through another’s sacrifice is that you, in turn, must be willing to liberate in the same way, irrespective of the consequences to yourself.”
Dag Hammarskjöld


“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


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


“You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.”
Albert Camus


“Life is an adventure in forgiveness”
Norman Cousins


“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


“Move on and forgive people and be healthy and happy.”
Susane Colasanti


“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


“A meaningful apology is one that communicates three R’s: regret, responsibility, and remedy.”
Beverly Engel


“Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you are.”
Cherie Carter-Scott


“Don’t pursue something with a vengeful heart, or it will destroy you. Hate wraps a cold hand around your heart and hollows you out.”
Dannika Dark


“The forgiving state of mind is a magnetic power for attracting good.”
Catherine Ponder


“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


“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


“Forgiving is easier when we understand that forgiving someone else means that we are freeing ourselves of an unnecessary burden.”
Donna Goddard


“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.”
Siddhārtha Gautama


“Men who do not forgive women their little faults will never enjoy their great virtues.”
Khalil Gibran


“We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love.”
Henri J.M. Nouwen


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


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


“We all love best not those who offend us least, nor those who have done most for us, but those who make it most easy for us to forgive them.”
Samuel Butler


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


“Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.”
William Arthur Ward


“Learn to love someone when they least deserve it because that is when they need your love most.”
Rodolfo Costa


“Of all things we mortals are called upon to do, the most difficult is forgiveness; in order to truly do it, you will probably have to behave as if you already have forgiven for quite a while before you have actually done so.”
Marion Zimmer Bradley


“Forgiveness is not a one-off decision; it is a journey and a process that takes time, determination, and persistence. Forgiveness is not forgetting; it is simply denying your pain the right to control your life.”
Corallie Buchanan


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


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


“Forgiveness doesn’t happen all at once. It’s not an event – it’s a process”
Barry Lyga


“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


“Dear Lord, please show me everything I need to understand about forgiveness and surrender”
Elizabeth Gilbert


“People forgive, but it is best not to stir things up to the point at which forgiveness is required.”
Andrew Solomon


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


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


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


“Because it strikes me there is something greater than judgement. I think it is called mercy.”
Sebastian Barry


Forgiving means you have chosen not to dwell on the matter anymore; you have moved on with your life.”
Idowu Koyenikan


“Scars are not injuries, Tanner Sack. A scar is a healing. After an injury, a scar is what makes you whole.”
China Miéville


“There is a hard law. When an injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive. „
Alan Paton


“Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.”
Ted Chiang


“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


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

I hope you enjoyed this collection of powerful forgiveness quotes. Do you sometimes struggle with forgiving and moving on with your life?

Stay victorious!


About Author

Steve is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. This world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty. Join us in the quest to live life to the fullest!

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