Recently some of our group participated in thought-provoking study on forgiveness. Here are some of the quotes and thoughts from that study:
Forgiveness is the only power in the universe that can change the past.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiving is rediscovering the shining path of peace that at first you thought others took away when they betrayed you.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. ~Mahatma Gandhi
The man who forgives is far stronger than the man who fights. ~Nathan Croall
Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it forgoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury. ~E.H. Chapin
Forgive all who have offended you, not for them, but for yourself. ~Harriet Nelson
He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would reach heaven, for everyone has need to be forgiven. ~George Herbert
Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got. ~Robert Brault
Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk. If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator. Forgiving seems almost unnatural. Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do. But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule. ~Lewis B. Smedes
Without forgiveness life is governed by… an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. ~Roberto Assagioli
Relationships don’t thrive because the guilty are punished, but because the innocent are merciful. – Max Lucado
With a little time, and a little more insight, we begin to see both ourselves and our enemies in humbler profiles. We are not really as innocent as we felt when we were first hurt. And we do not usually have a gigantic monster to forgive; we have a weak, needy, and somewhat stupid human being. When you see your enemy and yourself in the weakness and silliness of the humanity you share, you will make the miracle of forgiving a little easier.—Lewis B. Smedes – Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve
If we say that monsters [people who do terrible evil] are beyond forgiving, we give them a power they should never have…they are given the power to keep their evil alive in the hearts of those who suffered most. We give them power to condemn their victims to live forever with the hurting memory of their painful pasts. We give the monsters the last word.–Lewis B. Smedes – Forgive & Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve
All the years you have waited for them to “make it up to you” and all the energy you expended trying to make them change (or make them pay) kept the old wounds from healing and gave pain from the past free rein to shape and even damage your life. And still they may not have changed. Nothing you have done has made them change. Indeed, they may never change. Inner peace is found by changing yourself, not the people who hurt you. And you change yourself for yourself, for the joy, serenity, peace of mind, understanding, compassion, laughter, and bright future that you get.—Lewis B. Smedes – The Art of Forgiving: When You Need To Forgive And Don’t Know How
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 – The Art of Forgiving: When You Need To Forgive And Don’t Know How
Sometimes choices are made in the name of forgiveness while what is occurring isn’t forgiveness at all. It is important not to confuse being forgiving with denying your own feelings, needs, and desires. Forgiving doesn’t mean being passive and staying in a job or a relationship that clearly doesn’t work for you or is abusive. It is important that you are clear about your boundaries. What is acceptable for you? If you are willing to allow unacceptable behavior again and again in the name of ‘forgiveness,’ you are more than likely using ‘forgiveness’ as an excuse not to take responsibility for taking care of yourself or as a way to avoid making changes. –Robin Casarjian – Forgiveness: A Bold Choice For A Peaceful Heart
R.4650-51 “Forgiving and Being Forgiven”
The Lord’s words concluding the parable are, “So shall also my heavenly Father do unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother his trespasses.” In another text our Lord inculcates the same thought in different words, saying: “If ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
The purpose and object of our heavenly Father in thus dealing with us seems not clear to all. It is not that he wishes to retaliate. It is not that he would say to us, “If you are mean towards others I will be mean towards you.” Rather the lesson is this, “I am kind to the unthankful; I have been very gracious to you in the forgiveness of your original sin and in accepting your consecration to be my servant and in bringing you into my family, but I have called you into this position for a special purpose and you will not be fit nor be prepared for the service I desire for you unless you learn the lesson of forgiveness and generosity; hence, for your sake I make the rule that I will be no more generous to you and your imperfections than you are generous toward your brethren in their imperfections. I do this in order to teach you a great lesson which cannot be so well learned in any other way. What I am seeking in you as my servant is perfection in my character-likeness.