Quotes for forgiveness

A collection of quotes on the topic of forgiveness.

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Mikhail Bulgakov photo
Martin Luther King, Jr. photo

„First, 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. It is impossible even to begin the act of loving one's enemies without prior acceptance of the necessity, over and over again, of forgiving those who inflict evil and injury upon us. It is also necessary to realize that the forgiving act must always be initiated by the person who has been wronged, the victim of some great hurt, the recipient of some tortuous injustice, the absorber of some terrible act of oppression.“

—  Martin Luther King, Jr. American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement 1929 - 1968

1950s, Loving Your Enemies (Christmas 1957)
Context: First, 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. It is impossible even to begin the act of loving one's enemies without prior acceptance of the necessity, over and over again, of forgiving those who inflict evil and injury upon us. It is also necessary to realize that the forgiving act must always be initiated by the person who has been wronged, the victim of some great hurt, the recipient of some tortuous injustice, the absorber of some terrible act of oppression. The wrongdoer may request forgiveness. He may come to himself, and, like the prodigal son, move up with some dusty road, his heart palpitating with the desire for forgiveness. But only the injured neighbor, the loving father back home can really pour out the warm waters of forgiveness.

Vincent de Paul photo

„It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.“

—  Vincent de Paul French priest, founder and saint 1581 - 1660

As quoted in Homelessness in America : A Forced March to Nowhere (1982), p. 121
Context: You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see and the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them.

Adolf Hitler photo

„Life does not forgive weakness.“

—  Adolf Hitler, book Hitler's Letters and Notes

17 February 1945.
Disputed, The Testament of Adolf Hitler (1945)
Variant: Life does not forgive weakness.
Source: Hitler's Letters and Notes

Mwanandeke Kindembo photo
Molière photo

„The more we love our friends, the less we flatter them;
It is by excusing nothing that pure love shows itself.“

—  Molière, The Misanthrope

Plus on aime quelqu'un, moins il faut qu'on le flatte:
À rien pardonner le pur amour éclate.
Act II, sc. iv
Le Misanthrope (1666)

Desmond Tutu photo
Karl Lagerfeld photo
Mark Twain photo
William Booth photo

„The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.“

—  William Booth British Methodist preacher 1829 - 1912

Variant: I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be.... religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God and heaven without hell.

Ravi Zacharias photo
Elizabeth I of England photo

„God may forgive you, but I never can.“

—  Elizabeth I of England Queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until 1603 1533 - 1603

To the Countess of Nottingham, as quoted in The History of England Under the House of Tudor (1759) by David Hume, Vol. II, Ch. 7.

Robert Jordan photo
Don Henley photo

„I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So I'm thinkin' about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if you don't love me anymore.“

—  Don Henley American singer, lyricist, producer and drummer 1947

"The Heart of the Matter"
Song lyrics, The End of the Innocence (1989)

Sylvia Plath photo
Antonin Artaud photo

„Do not feel ashamed to forgive and forget.“

—  Ali, book Nahj al-Balagha

Nahj al-Balagha, Letter 53: An order to Malik Al-Ashtar
Variant: The best deed of a great man is to forgive and forget.

Alain de Botton photo
Nikos Kazantzakis photo