Forgiveness Quotes on Life, Love, and Friendship
A powerful and uplifting collection of some of our favorite forgiveness quotes.
April 8, 2023 5:00 AM EST
Forgiving people can be one of the hardest things to do, but in the end, it is always so worth it.
Tell us in the comments below which one of these forgiveness quotes resonated with you the most.
The first step to healing is to find it in your heart to forgive those who have wronged you.
These forgiveness quotes will help you let go of the past and not allow anger to poison your heart.
Forgiveness is a difficult emotion for so many of us.
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According to a study by the University of Wisconsin, forgiveness leads to better mental and physical health.
The study found that people who were more forgiving had lower levels of depression, anxiety, and anger, and they also had fewer physical health problems like heart disease and high blood pressure.
Due to too much hate and anger inside us, we find it almost impossible in some situations to let go of the past, or move on from the wrongs that others have done to us.
However, it is through forgiving and letting go of those perceived injustices that truly allows us to be free.
Below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and powerful self-forgiveness quotes, forgiveness sayings, and forgiveness proverbs on how we can start that process.
Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.
Explore our complete collection of motivational quotes here.
Forgiveness quotes about life
Research conducted by the University of California, Davis, shows that practicing forgiveness can improve relationships.
The study found that when people practiced forgiveness, they experienced greater levels of trust, empathy, and closeness in their relationships.
1. “Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.” ― Isaac Friedmann
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2. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ― Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections
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3. “It is important that we forgive ourselves for making mistakes. We need to learn from our errors and move on.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
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4. “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
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5. “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
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6. “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
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7. “Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
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Forgive yourself quotes
A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that forgiveness can improve sleep quality.
The study found that people who were more forgiving had better sleep quality and were less likely to experience sleep disturbances like insomnia.
8. “Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself.” ― Harriet Nelson
9. “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
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10. “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
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11. “Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.” ― Anne Lamott
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12. “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, Salomé: In Every Inch In Every Mile
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13. “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” ― Bryant H. McGill
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14. “Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive.” ― Wm. Paul Young, The Shack
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15. “Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” ― Norman Cousins
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16. “Always forgive, but never forget, else you will be a prisoner of your own hatred, and doomed to repeat your mistakes forever.” ― Wil Zeus, Sun Beyond the Clouds
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17. “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, every day, whenever you remember a shortcoming, a flaw, you have to tell yourself “That’s just fine”. You have to forgive yourself so much, until you don’t even see those things anymore. Because that’s what love is like.” ― C. JoyBell C.
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Forgiveness quotes on friendship
A study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology found that forgiveness can lead to decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The study found that forgiveness was associated with decreased negative emotions and increased positive emotions, which can lead to improved mental health.
18. “Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.” ― Roberto Assagioli
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19. “Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you are.” ― Cherie Carter-Scott
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20. “Can I be forgiven for all I’ve done to get here? I want to be. I can. I believe it.” ― Veronica Roth, Allegiant
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21. “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” ― Robert Quillen
22. “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
23. “I want to be the kind of person who can do that. Move on and forgive people and be healthy and happy. It seems like an easy thing to do in my head. But it’s not so easy when you try it in real life.” ― Susane Colasanti, Waiting for You
24. “Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.” ― Hannah Arendt
25. “Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.” ― Kent M. Keith, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council
Forgiveness quotes on love
According to a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, forgiveness is an important factor in maintaining long-term friendships.
The study found that individuals who were more forgiving in their friendships were more likely to have longer-lasting and more satisfying friendships than those who were less forgiving.
26. “He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.” ― George Herbert
27. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” ― Nelson Mandela
28. “Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.” ― Emma Goldman
29. “What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.”
30. “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, Clippings from My Notebook
31. “Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me.” ― Anonymous
32. “I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
33. “Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.” ― Indira Gandhi
34. “As long as I am breathing, in my eyes, I am just beginning.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy
35. “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, because hate in your heart will consume you too.” ― Will Smith
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More forgiveness quotes on life
Research conducted by the University of Missouri found that forgiveness in friendships can lead to increased closeness and stronger relationships.
The study found that individuals who forgave their friends for negative behaviors experienced increased positive feelings toward their friends, as well as greater trust and commitment in the friendship.
36. “If you can’t forgive and forget, pick one.” ― Robert Brault
37. “A life lived without forgiveness is a prison.” ― William Arthur Ward
38. “People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.”
39. “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
40. “Sincere forgiveness isn’t colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don’t worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time-just like it does for you and me.” ― Sara Paddison
41. “To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ― Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
42. “Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.” ― Alice Duer Miller
43. “The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ― Marianne Williamson
44. “We are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean we are evil, or that we cannot be trusted ever afterward.” ― Alison Croggon
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Quotes on forgiving others
45. “It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.” ― William Blake
46. “I guess forgiveness, like happiness, isn’t a final destination. You don’t one day get there and get to stay.” ― Deb Caletti
47. “The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
48. “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
49. “Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.” ― Marlene Dietrich
50. “One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.” ― Rita Mae Brown
51. “As long as you don’t forgive, who and whatever it is will occupy a rent-free space in your mind.” ― Isabelle Holland
52. “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.” ― Abraham Lincoln
53. “These are the few ways we can practice humility: To speak as little as possible of one’s self. To mind one’s own business. Not to want to manage other people’s affairs. To avoid curiosity. To accept contradictions and correction cheerfully. To pass over the mistakes of others. To accept insults and injuries. To accept being slighted, forgotten and disliked. To be kind and gentle even under provocation. Never to stand on one’s dignity. To choose always the hardest.” ― Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living
54. “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” ― Paul Boese
Forgiveness quotes for lovers
55. “I’m sorry about yesterday,” she said. He hung on to his straps and shrugged. “Yesterday happens.” ― Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park
56. “Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.”
57. “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
58. “Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.” ― George MacDonald
59. “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” ― Corrie ten Boom
60. “Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” ― Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada: The Sayings of the Buddha
61. “Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness forces you to grow beyond what you were.” ― Cherie Carter-Scott
62. “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.
63. “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, 300 Questions LDS Couples Should Ask Before Marriage
Quotes about forgiveness in life
64. “Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.” ― William Arthur Ward
65. “The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.”
66. “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” ― Thomas Szasz
67. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ― Lewis B. Smedes
68. “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
69. “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, Love Is Letting Go of Fear
70. “Forgiveness is like faith. You have to keep reviving it.” ― Mason Cooley
71. “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, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?
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Quotes about forgiveness in friendship
72. “If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.”
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73. “Be the one who nurtures and builds. 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
74. “We are all on a life long journey and the core of its meaning, the terrible demand of its centrality is forgiving and being forgiven.” ― Martha Kilpatrick
75. “This is one of my favorites: “True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience.” ― Oprah Winfrey
76. “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, The Alphabet of Grace
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77. “Only the brave know how to forgive. … A coward never forgave; it is not in his nature.” – Laurence Sterne
78. “What I cannot love, I overlook.” ― Anaïs Nin
79. “Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” ― Oscar Wilde
Quotes about forgiveness with love
80. “Sometimes you just have to regret things and move on.” ― Charlaine Harris
81. “If you do well, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do well anyway.”
82. “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” ― Nelson Mandela
83. “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” ― Robert Muller
84. “Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more, Men were deceivers ever,- One foot in sea and one on shore, To one thing constant never.” ― William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing
85. “A broken friendship that is mended through forgiveness can be even stronger than it once was.” ― Stephen Richards, Forgiveness and Love Conquers All: Healing the Emotional Self
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86. “People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.”
87. “Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” ― Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
88. “Last night I lost the world, and gained the universe.” ― C. JoyBell C.
89. “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” – C.S. Lewis
90. “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
More forgiveness quotes and sayings
91. “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” – Mark Twain
92. “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy
93. “To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it.” – Confucius
94. “When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God’s light shines upon you.” – Jon Krakauer
95. “A heart filled with anger has no room for love.” – Joan Lunden
96. “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different.” – Oprah Winfrey
97. “Nothing erases the past. There is repentance, there is atonement, and there is forgiveness. That is all, but that is enough.” – Ted Chiang
98. “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 Quotes to Heal and Move Forward
99. “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
100. “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Paul Boose
101. “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
102. “We ask for forgiveness. And we forgive others who ask us. In that way we can experience healing, healing in our souls.” – Ed Dobsons
103. “Forgiveness is the best revenge.” – Imam Ali
104. “Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.” – C.S. Lewis
105. “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C.S. Lewis
106. “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
107. “There is no peace without forgiveness.” – Marianne Williamson
108. “Forgiveness is a reflection of loving yourself enough to move on.” – Dr. Steve Maraboli
Forgiveness Quotes Life, Love, Friendship To Free Your Soul
109. “One of the secrets of a long and fruitful life is to forgive everybody everything everynight before you go to bed.” ― Bernard Baruch
110. “Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it makes you free.” ― Stormie Omartian
111. “Disagreements don’t cause disunity, a lack of forgiveness does.” ― Loren Cunningham
112. “When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” ― Bernard Meltzer
113. “I think we learn the most from imperfect relationships – things like forgiveness and compassion.” ― Andrea Thompson
114. “Forgiveness is the oil of relationships.” ― Josh McDowell
115. “Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.” ― Peter Ustinov
116. “Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” ― Hannah More
117. “Those who cannot forgive others break the bridge over which they themselves must pass.” ― Confucius
118. “If you choose to forgive someone who has wronged you rather than to hate that person, you shift the frequency of your Light.” ― Gary Zukav
Did you enjoy these forgiveness quotes?
Forgiveness has the power to change not only your perspective but your entire life.
Invite it in, and allow its power to show you the better way to be.
Now that you know how to go about feeling and showing true forgiveness, the weight can be lifted off of you, and the life you had imagined for yourself lies in front of you…grudge free.
Others will take notice, and hopefully, you can inspire them to forgive, too!
Which quotes about forgiveness were your favorite?
What other forgiveness quotes would you add to the list?
Let us know in the comment section below.