130 Forgiveness Quotes for Letting Go of Hurt and Anger

Today I’d like to share a collection of the 130 best forgiveness quotes that I’ve discovered over the years.

I hope they will help you to forgive, let go and move on from hurt, resentment and anger. Away from feelings that may drag you down and thoughts that can slowly poison you and your outlook on life.

Because forgiving someone for what they said or did isn’t always easy – it can in my experience honestly be one of the harder things one can do – but it can also set you free and be something you need to do for no one but yourself to be able to fully move on with your life.

I think Catherine Ponder says it in a better way than I so let’s get started and begin with her quote on forgiveness.

Two people hugging during a sunset.

Quotes on Forgiving Someone You Love

“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.”
Catherine Ponder

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
Paul Boose

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


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

“We read that we ought to forgive our enemies; but we do not read that we ought to forgive our friends.”
Sir. Francis Bacon

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

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

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
Anne Lamott

Forgiveness Quote by Emma Goldman

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

“Let us forgive each other – only then will we live in peace.”
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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

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

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

“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

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

“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
Robert Quillen

“Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened. It’s choosing to rise above it.”
Robin Sharma

“If you can’t forgive and forget, pick one.”
Robert Brault

“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 heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”
Marvin J. Ashton

Forgiveness Quote by Confucius

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

You may also find this post filled with I’m sorry quotes helpful.

Quotes on the Power of Forgiveness

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

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

“Without forgiveness life is governed by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.”
Roberto Assagioli

“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

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”
Tony Robbins

“Forgiveness is like faith. You have to keep reviving it.”
Mason Cooley

Forgiveness Quote by Hannah Arendt

“Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.”
Hannah Arendt

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

“The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbour 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

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

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

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

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

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

Forgiveness Quote by William Arthur Ward

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

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

“It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend.”
William Blake

“Forgiveness is the key to inner peace because it is the mental technique by which our thoughts are transformed from fear to love.”
Marianne Williamson

“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

Have a look at this post with broken trust quotes and this one with betrayal quotes for more timeless insights and wisdom.

Forgiveness Quotes to Help You to Let Go

“Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”
Deborah Reber

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

“Why do people persist in a dissatisfying relationship, unwilling either to work toward solutions or end it and move on? It’s because they know changing will lead to the unknown, and most people believe that the unknown will be much more painful than what they’re already experiencing.”
Anthony Robbins

“Laughter gives us distance. It allows us to step back from an event, deal with it and then move on.”
Bob Newhart

“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.”
George MacDonald

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energy moving forward together towards an answer.”
Denis Waitley

Forgiveness Quote by Guy Finley

“You don’t need strength to let go of something. What you really need is understanding.”
Guy Finley

“When we go back in to the past and rake up all the troubles we’ve had, we end up reeling and staggering through life. Stability and peace of mind come by living in the moment.”
Pam W. Vredevelt

“Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”
Wayne Dyer

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

“Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing which keeps you from hope and love?”
Leo Buscaglia

“We think that forgiveness is weakness, but it’s absolutely not; it takes a very strong person to forgive.”
T. D. Jakes

“Forgiveness is the most important thing. We all have to forgive what was done to us – the Irish people have to forgive. The African people. The Jewish people. We all have to forgive and understand the only way to stop the cycle of hate and abuse is not to allow yourself to get caught in it.”
Sinead O’Connor

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

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

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Joseph Campbell

“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

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.”
Bernard Meltzer

“Forgiveness is not about the other person or what they did. Forgiveness is for YOU and about YOU.”
Iyanla Vanzant

Forgiveness Quote by Jonathan Huie

“Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”
Jonathan Huie

“Forgiveness is a powerful expression of the love within our soul.”
Anthony Douglas

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

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

“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

“Forgiveness is the most effective way of dealing with arguments; altruism and forgiveness bring humanity together so that no conflict, however serious, will go beyond the bounds of what is truly human.”
Dalai Lama

“Sometimes the first step to forgiveness is understanding that the other person is a complete idiot.”

“Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.”
Indira Gandhi

“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

“Genuine forgiveness is participation, reunion overcoming the powers of estrangement. . . We cannot love unless we have accepted forgiveness, and the deeper our experience of forgiveness is, the greater is our love.”
Paul Tillich

“Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.”’
H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“Forgiveness is the best form of love. It takes a strong person to say sorry, and an even stronger person to forgive.”

“When I talk of forgiveness I mean the belief that you can come out the other side … a better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred. Remaining in that state locks you in a state of victimhood, making you almost dependent on the perpetrator. If you can find it in yourself to forgive then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator. You can move on.”
Desmond Tutu

“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.”
Jan Glidewell

Wise Forgiveness Quotes

“To understand is to forgive, even oneself.”
Alexander Chase

“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

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

“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

“Forgiveness is not weak. It takes courage to face and overcome powerful emotions.”
Desmond Tutu

“Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

“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

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

“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

“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

“Forgiveness is a strange thing. It can sometimes be easier to forgive our enemies than our friends. It can be hardest of all to forgive people we love.”
Fred Rogers

“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

“The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.”
Kent M. Keith

“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.

“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

“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

“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

Be sure to also check out this post with plenty of inner peace quotes.

Other Forgiveness Quotes and Sayings

“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

“I guess forgiveness, like happiness, isn’t a final destination. You don’t one day get there and get to stay.”
Deb Caletti

“Do as the heavens have done, forget your evil; With them forgive yourself.”
William Shakespeare

“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.

“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’m sorry about yesterday,” she said. He hung on to his straps and shrugged. “Yesterday happens.”
Rainbow Rowell

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

“He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.”
George Herbert

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

“Let’s shake free this gravity of judgment, and fly high on the wings of forgiveness.”
India Arie Simpson

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

“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

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

“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

“If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.”
Kent M. Keith

“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

“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

“Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.”
Desmond Tutu

You may also find these quotes on letting go useful to move on.

Short Forgiveness Quotes

“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”
Nelson Mandela

“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 is the best revenge.”
Imam Ali

“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

“Sometimes you just have to regret things and move on.”
Charlaine Harris

“Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.”
Anne Lamott

“People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.”
Kent M. Keith

“What I cannot love, I overlook.”
Anaïs Nin

“Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.”
Alice Duer Miller

“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”
Jane Austen

“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.”
C.S. Lewis

“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.”
Norman Cousins

“If you do well, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do well anyway.”

“Pray you now, forget and forgive.”
William Shakespeare

“One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.”
Rita Mae Brown

“Take forgiveness slowly. Don’t blame yourself for being slow. Peace will come.”
Yoko Ono

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

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Danny

    Thanks, these are indeed inspirational. Just a couple days ago I was delighted to come across this one: “Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. – Alexa Young”

  • Thank you, Danny. That´s a great quote.

  • Mike Ihnat

    My absolute favorite is by Mark Twain

    Forgiveness is the sweet smell left by the flower on the bottom of the shoe which trampled it.

    • mtri

      Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. ~Mark Twain~
      thats the quote by mark twain

  • Mahatma Gandhi epitomizes forgiveness, so it’s wonderful to see his quote there. Another one I like:

    Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury. ~E.H. Chapin

  • those for sure, are great quotes.

  • karthick

    hi i read ur Forgiveness Quotes…wow..its really interesting…THQ..plz post more like this…

  • Ha Neul

    Forgiveness is the best give we can give to ourselves… Forgiveness is the last and most high form of love.

  • 10 Forgiveness quote,10 inspiration quote