Many a times, our friends and family disappoint us. They fall short of our expectations for them. They hurt us. They make us want to seek revenge. In most cases, it is the people close to our hearts that betray us, making it more painful and unbearable. Sometimes, the scenario becomes better if it’s our enemies who hurt us or those that we like a lot less. Only then can we be able to seek revenge and still have the capability to justify our behaviour. In this day and age, is revenge the best answer, or should make forgiveness our revenge?

Nelson Mandela, the first democratically-elected president of South Africa teaches us what we ought to do. Seeing the unfairness of the oppressiveness of the apartheid regime in the then South Africa, Mandela joined the struggle to put to an end to apartheid. As a lawyer, he was a force to reckon with and the apartheid did not take long to take note of him. In no time, he was arrested, alongside other political stalwarts of that time.

He was tried at the famous Rivonia trial in which he was sentenced to life in prison. He spent the next 27 years of his life in Robben Island prison until his release in 1990. He was deprived of his right to be with his family and friends. He lost 27 years of his life, which he wasn’t going to get back. He was in isolation. His human rights were violated. He had every right to be angry. He had every right to seek revenge, but when he got out prison, he preached reconciliation.

Mandela did not head hunt those that had persecuted him and his comrades. He forgave them and pledged to work with them towards building a free and democratic country. Forgiveness is not an easy thing to give, but when you do, you remove a big burden off your shoulders. You free yourself from the yoke of hatred and begin to love. When Mandela forgave his imprisoners, he wasn’t trying to erase the 27 years he had spent in prison, but rather, trying to shape a new future for the country.

Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but a show of strength. It takes a bigger person to ask for forgiveness, and it requires an even bigger person to forgive. Some people’s crimes are too great to be forgiven, but if we do not forgive them, we destroy ourselves from within. Holding a grudge is like living with cancer. It kills the host. When you forgive someone, you free yourself. As people, we must learn to forgive and forget.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgive and Forget Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

-Mahatma Gandhi

forgiving quotes by Mahatma Gandhi

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

-Maya Angelou

forgive quotes by Maya Angelou

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.

-Bruce Lee

quotes of forgiveness by Bruce Lee

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

-Alexander Pope

forgiveness quote by Alexander Pope

What is forgiven is usually well remembered.

-Louis Dudek

quotes forgiveness by Louis Dudek

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

-John F. Kennedy

i forgive you quotes by John F. Kennedy

Forgiveness is the final form of love.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

quote on forgiveness by Reinhold Niebuhr

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

-Bernard Meltzer

forgiveness sayings by Bernard Meltzer

The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

-Thomas Szasz

quote for forgiveness by Thomas Szasz

A little girl was asked what forgiveness is…

She gave a beautiful answer…

“It is the fragrance that flowers give when they are crushed…”

famous forgiveness quotes

I don’t forgive people cause I’m weak.I forgive them cause I’m strong enough to understand people make mistakes.

– heidi

best forgiveness quotes by heidi

Sometimes you forgive people simply because you still want them in your life

– ally

quote of forgiveness by ally

Some More Inspirational Forgiveness Quotes

  • Two persons cannot long be friends if they cannot forgive each other’s little failings. -Jean de la Bruyere
  • Forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
  • If you aren’t willing to forgive someone, then you don’t truly love them.
  • It’s never too late to apologize but sometimes it’s too late to forgive – Antonio mara

It is clear that people in our lives will transgress against us; that should not be the yardstick to measure the depth of our friendship or relationship. The power to forgive should be. A true friendship is only tested if one is called upon to forgive. Forgiveness is an act of love. Without love, it is impossible to forgive. Let us learn to love one another, and forgiveness will come natural to us, just like breathing.