One pardons to the degree that one loves. - Francios De La Rochefoucauld

Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Love is an act of endless forgiveness. - Peter Ustinov

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

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

You know you have forgiven someone when he or she has harmless passage through your mind. - Rev. Karyl Huntley

Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past. - Alexa Young

"Forgiveness means deciding not to punish a perceived injustice, taking action on that decision, and experiencing the emotional relief that follows."  Mona Gustafson Affinito

Robert Enright, a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin defines forgiveness as "giving up the resentment to which you are entitled and offering to the person who hurt you friendlier attitudes to which they are not entitled."

The things that two people in love do to each other they remember. And if they stay together, it is not because they forget, it is because they forgive. - From the movie, Indecent Proposal

If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive. - Mother Theresa

QUOTES from the writings of Jampolsky and Cirincione)

Forgiveness means no longer living in the fearful past.

When each of us makes forgiving as natural and as important as breathing and eating, both our inner and outer worlds will be healed, and there will only be Oneness.

To forgive is the prescription for happiness.

To not forgive is the prescription to suffer. Forgiveness is the most powerful healer of all.

The happiest marriages are built on the foundation of forgiveness.

What we need to forgive in others may be something in ourselves that we have hidden from our awareness.

Forgiveness results in our seeing the Light in everyone regardless of their behavior.

To forgive does not mean agreeing with the act or condoning an outrageous behavior.

Forgiveness means living and loving completely in the present without the shadows of the past.

Forgiveness in the deepest sense is forgiving ourselves for separating ourselves from each other and that which Created us.

Forgiveness means giving up all hopes for a better past. You either totally forgive or you do not forgive at all.

The results of forgiveness is healing the hole in your heart caused by unforgiving thoughts.

Forgiveness is not just for the other but for ourselves for the mistakes we have made and for the guilt and shame we may still be holding on to.

It is never too early to forgive, and it is never too late to forgive.

Forgiveness results in our healing the illusion that there is any separateness in the world and reminds us that there is only Oneness.

Forgiveness results in our not withholding our love from anyone.

The key word in learning to forgive is the "willingness" to forgiveHolding on to grudges and grievances and not forgiving can cause our bodies to become ill.

Our immune system can become stronger when we forgive. It becomes easier to forgive when we no longer hold on to the belief that we are victims.

When we make peace of mind our only goal, it is crossing over the bridge of forgiveness that will help us reach that goal.

Forgiveness is a continuous process and not something we do just once or twice.

Forgiveness is the shortest distance to the Divine. Not forgiving and holding on to what we believe is justified anger interferes with our experiencing joy, peace and love.

Forgiveness means forgiving our misperceptions that we have ever been abandoned or left alone.

Forgiving our misperceptions of God and our religious training and those teachers that did not seem to walk their path can set us free.

To forgive this very instant means no longer being King or Queen of the Procrastinator’s Club.

The results of forgiveness is the stopping of the recycling of anger within ourselves and in the world. Peace will come to the world when each of us takes the responsibility of forgiving everyone, including ourselves, completely.

The Stepping Stones to Forgiveness

1.       Be open to the possibility of changing your beliefs about forgiveness. Recognize that forgiveness is an act of strength, not weakness.

2.       Be willing to let go of being a victim. Choose to believe that holding on to grievances and unforgiving thoughts is choosing to suffer. Find no value in self-pity.

3.       Remind yourself that your anger and judgments can’t change the past or punish someone else, but they can hurt you. The events of the past cannot hurt you now, but your thoughts about the past can cause you immense distress and pain. Recognize that any emotional pain you feel this moment is caused only by your own thoughts.

4.       See the value of giving up, not some, but all of your judgments. It is no coincidence that the happiest people are those who choose not to judge and know the value of forgiveness.

5.       Recognize that holding on to anger will not bring you what your truly want. Ask yourself this question, "Does holding on to my justified anger really bring me peace of mind?" Anger and peace; judgment and happiness do not occur at the same time.

6.       See that there is no value in punishing yourself. Once you truly recognize that your angry, unhappy thoughts about the past are poisoning your life, you will embrace forgiveness and know the meaning of love.

7.       Believe that forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past! Accept your past, forgive your past, and embrace the present and future with hope! There is no law forcing you to remain a victim of the past.

8.       Choose to be happy rather than right. When we stop trying to control others and focus instead on our own thoughts, we give ourselves the gift of freedom and peace.

9.       Believe that you have the power to choose the thoughts you put into your mind. Perhaps the greatest gift we have been given is the power to choose loving thoughts rather than angry ones. Your mind is not a dumpster that will remain unaffected by the trash you put into it. Treat it like a garden and it will blossom.

10.    Be willing to make peace of mind your only goal and believe that forgiveness is the key to happiness. Regardless of the chaos around us, we can know peace if that is our single goal. Choose not to let outside circumstances or people decide whether you will be happy. Anger, judgments and unforgiving thoughts make suffer, and releasing them brings us joy. It truly is that simple!

Forgiveness in Scripture

Psalm 85:2-3

You forgave the guilt of your people,
pardoned all their sins.
You withdrew all your wrath,
Turned back your burning anger.

Psalm 103:11-13

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;

Isaiah 43:25

25 "I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

Isaiah 55:6-7

6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD , and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Jeremiah 33:8

8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.

Matthew 1:21

21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,[1] because he will save his people from their sins."

Matthew 26:28

This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 2:5

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic: “Child, your sins are forgiven.”

Luke 24:46-47

He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Acts 10:43
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

Colossians 2:13-15

13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross

1 John 2:1-2

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

What Forgiveness Is Not

Forgiveness is not forgetting. We are taught from an early age to "forgive and forget." However, this is often not realistic and is not valuable. It would be nice to be able to turn back the clock and erase the unpleasantness of our past, but it just isn't possible. The real trick isn't to forget the past, but to learn from the past and try to use it to help yourself and others both now and in the future.

Forgiveness is not condoning. Forgiving doesn't mean that the past was okay or not so bad. We were hurt; it was painful; and it affected our lives. Forgiveness allows us to deal with the past in a more effective manner that doesn't minimize the past, but rather minimizes the effects of that painful past on the present and our future. It in no way denies, justifies, or condones the original harm done to us in the past.

Forgiveness is not absolution. Forgiveness does not absolve the perpetrator of responsibility for their actions. It doesn't let them off the hook. The reality is that we cannot grant absolution even if we wanted to -- that is the sole responsibility of God. And while only God can grant absolution, only the perpetrator can seek it. They are ultimately responsible for their own actions and must make peace with their own past, just as we must make peace with our past. We don't forgive others for their sake. We forgive for our own sake, and for our own peace of mind.

Forgiveness is not a form of self-sacrifice. Forgiveness is not pretending that everything is just fine when you feel it isn't. This is perhaps the most difficult concept of forgiveness to understand because sometimes the distinction between being truly forgiving and simply denying or repressing anger and pain can be deceptive and confusing. Plastering a smile on your face and "making nice" is not forgiving. Either we forgive, or we do not -- there is no halfway. And we must be careful to be honest with ourselves if we are not ready to forgive, because in the long run it is better to admit to and deal with our inability to forgive than just to pretend to forgive.

Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness. Far from weakness, forgiveness is a sign of true inner strength. When we forgive we understand that we don't need our anger and hatred to protect ourselves. We don't need the pain as a crutch anymore. Forgiveness doesn't depend upon who hurt us, what they did, or whether or not they are sorry for their actions. We don't forgive out of our weakness toward the perpetrator, but out of our own internal strength. Forgiveness is something that we do for ourselves.

What Forgiveness Is

Forgiveness is a form of realism. It allows us to see our lives as they really are, probably for the first time. It doesn't deny, minimize, or justify what others have done to us, or the pain that we have suffered. It does, however, allow us to look squarely at old wounds and scars and see them for what they are. And it allows us to see how much energy we have wasted and how much we have damaged ourselves by not forgiving.

Forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem. It allows us to put the past into its proper perspective. We no longer identify ourselves by our past injuries and injustices. We are no longer victims. We claim the right to stop hurting when we say: "I'm tired of the pain, and I want to be healed." At that moment, forgiveness becomes a possibility -- although it may take time and much hard work before it is finally achieved.

Forgiveness is letting go of the past. Forgiveness doesn't erase what happened, but it does allow you to lessen and hopefully eliminate the pain of the past. And more importantly, the pain from our past no longer dictates how we live in the present and can no longer determine our future.

Forgiveness is no longer wanting to punish those who hurt us. It means that we no longer want to get even, or spend time dreaming of how we will make them suffer for what they have done to us. It is realizing that we may never be able to "even the score" and that even if we did that nothing we do to punish them will help to heal us. It is discovering the inner peace that we feel when we just let go of the past and forget thoughts of vengeance.

Forgiveness is moving on. Forgiveness is in recognizing all that we have lost because of our refusal to forgive. It's in realizing that the energy that we spent hanging on to the past is better spent on improving our present lives and our future. It's letting go of the past so that we can move on.

A Happier Ending

We all have painful incidents from our past. And at one time or another we have all made the mistake of trying to run away from the past. The problem is that no matter how fast you run, or how far you run, the past has a way of always catching up to you. Forgiveness is a way of dealing with the past so that we no longer have to run. It allows us to deal honestly with our past and allows us to heal the pain. It helps us to find the inner peace that can come only from changing ourselves and our attitudes.

As Dr. Sidney Simon wrote in Forgiveness: How to Make Peace With Your Past and Get On With Your Life, "that is what forgiveness is all about -- working through the unfinished business, letting go of the pain and moving on for your sake. You forgive so that you can finally get rid of the excess baggage that has been weighing you down and holding you back; so that you can be free to do and be whatever you decide instead of stumbling along according to the script painful past experiences wrote for you."

I have forgiven my mother and moved beyond my past. It wasn't easy and it took a lot of time, but I believe that the rewards I experienced were well worth the effort. Perhaps you should give it a try.

Michael B. Ross, #127404, resides on Death Row at Northern C.I., P.O. Box #665, Somers, CT 06071

Forgiveness works! It is often difficult, AND it works!
Larry James

We often think of forgiveness as something that someone who has done us wrong must ask of US. There is always another way of looking at something. My thoughts on forgiveness suggest that you focus on offering forgiveness TO the person who has wronged you. To not forgive them is like taking the poison (continuing to suffer for what they did or didn't do to you) and expecting THEM to die!

Someone once said, "To err is human, to forgive is Divine." Believe it!

Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is not something you do FOR someone else. It is not complicated. It is simple. Simply identify the situation to be forgiven and ask yourself: "Am I willing to waste my energy further on this matter?" If the answer is "No," then that's it! All is forgiven.

Forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It dares you to imagine a better future, one that is based on the blessed possibility that your hurt will not be the final word on the matter. It challenges you to give up your destructive thoughts about the situation and to believe in the possibility of a better future. It builds confidence that you can survive the pain and grow from it.

Telling someone is a bonus! It is not necessary for forgiveness to begin the process that heals the hurt.

Choice is always present in forgiveness. You do not have to forgive AND there are consequences. Refusing to forgive by holding on to the anger, resentment and a sense of betrayal can make your own life miserable. A vindictive mind-set creates bitterness and lets the betrayer claim one more victim.

There is nothing so bad that cannot be forgiven. Nothing!

Some will argue that in the case of child abuse, the Holocaust, Saddam Hussain, etc, the abuser has no "right" to forgiveness -- such blessings can only be earned -- that forgiveness only leads to further victimization. Such acts are heinous and dispicable and with time (and in many cases, therapy) they can be forgiven. Every day you may have to forgive again.

I believe that to withhold forgiveness is to choose to continue to remain the victim. Remember, you always have choice.

When you forgive you do it for you, not for the other. The person you have never forgiven. . . owns you! How about an affair? Just because you choose to forgive, does not mean you have to stay in the relationship. That is only and always your choice. The choice to forgive is only and always yours.

When you feel that forgiveness is necessary, do not forgive for your "their" sake. Do it for yourself! It would be great if they would come to you and ask forgiveness but you must accept the fact that some people will never do that. That is their choice. They do not NEED to be forgiven. They did what they did and that is it - except for the consequences, which THEY must live with.

The hurts won't heal until you forgive! Recovery from wrongdoing that produces genuine forgiveness takes time. For some, it may take years. Don't rush it. It helps to focus your energy on the healing, not the hurt!

HEALTHY love relationships are not possible without forgiveness! You cannot have a loving and rewarding relationship with anyone else, much less yourself, if you continue to hold on to things that happened in the past. Regardless of the situation, making peace with past love partners, your parents, children, your boss or anyone who you think may have "done you wrong" is the only way to improve your chances of a "healthy" relationship with yourself or anyone else for that matter!

It is not possible to truly be present and available to a new relationship until you heal the hurt and upsets of the past.

Forgiving someone else is to agree within yourself to overlook the wrong they have committed against you and to move on with your life. It's the only way. It means cutting them some slack.

"What?" you say! "Cut them some slack after what THEY did to me? Never!" Let go! Move on!

Non-forgiveness keeps you in the struggle. Being willing to forgive can bring a sense of peace and well-being. It lifts anxiety and delivers you from depression. It can enhance your self-esteem and give you hope.

Forgive and forget is a myth. You may never forget AND you can choose to forgive. As life goes on and you remember, then is the time to once again remember that you have already forgiven. Mentally forgive again if necessary, then move forward. When we allow it, time can dull the vividness of the memory of the hurt; the memory will fade.

Forgiveness is a creative act that changes us from prisoners of the past to liberated people at peace with our memories. It is not forgetfulness, but it involves accepting the promise that the future can be more than dwelling on memories of past injury.

There is no future in the past. You can never live in the present and create a new and exciting future for yourself and your love partner if you always stay stuck in the past.

If you are at war with others you cannot be at peace with yourself. You CAN let go. . . and forgive! It takes no strength to let go. . . only courage. Life either expands or contracts in direct proportion to your courage to forgive. Your choice to forgive or not to forgive either moves you closer to what you desire or further away from it. There is no middle ground. Change is constant.

Want peace of mind? Forgive. The same energy you use to hold on (to not forgive), is the same energy you need to create a new and exciting relationship TOGETHER; a relationship anchored in unconditional love.

Forgiveness helps you move forward. No one benefits from forgiveness more than the one who forgives!

Give yourself the gift of forgiveness. The very word forgiveness is built on the root word give. Forgiveness releases your partner from your criticism and also releases you from being imprisoned by your own negative judgments. It is not surrender, but a conscious decision to cease to harbor resentment. In affect, it takes the poison our of your body. It cleanses your system of the poison that will surely fester and cause illness and continued misery if not released. You cannot take the poison and expect someone else to die. They will go on with their life and you will be the only one to continue to suffer.

Forgiveness is the key to your own happiness. Forgiving someone else takes moral courage. It ends the illusion of separation, and its power can change misery into happiness in an instant. Forgiveness means choosing to let go, move on, and favor the positive.

Forgiveness is a form of love within the context of a personal crisis. To forgive is, in a sense, to love one's enemy. When forgiveness is given because you think you should, it no longer is forgiveness but an act of self- interest.

Research has shown that people who are deeply and unjustly hurt by others can heal emotionally and, in some cases, physically by forgiving their offender.

Forgiveness breaks the cycle of hatred, resentment, anger and pain that is often passed on to those around you.

Forgiveness. What it's for? It creates the freedom to create a new future beginning now!