Friday, August 04, 2006


from listener

In times like these I turn once again to the collection I keep of my favourite quotes about forgiveness. I am deeply inspired by those persons who have found it in their soul to forgive the undeserving, seeing beneath that act something far greater than their own gain or comfort.

Please share your own favourite quotes on Forgiveness in this thread.

These quotes are excerpted from The Role of Forgiveness in Conflict Resolution by Sis Levin, an article published in the Aug. '91 issue of World Peacemakers Newsletter. Sis is the author of Beirut Diary (InterVarsity Press) about her struggle the year her husband was held hostage in Beirut by Hezbollah. It was later made into a TV movie by Paramount Pictures.

to forgive: the act of remitting, letting off, ceasing to resent, pardoning.
pardon: from the French pardonner; par = equality, donner = to give.
The Oxford Dictionary

"We don't need to talk peace with our friends; we need to talk peace with our enemies."
~ Sis Levin, (Paramount movie) Held Hostage, 1991

"I thought that the only hope for the future lay in an all-embracing attitude of forgiveness of the people who had been our enemies. Forgiveness, my prison experience had taught me, was not mere religious sentimentality; it was as fundamental a law of the human spirit as the law of gravity. If one broke the law of gravity one broke one's neck. If one broke this law of forgiveness, one inflicted a mortal wound on one's spirit and one became again a member of a chain-gang of mere cause and effect from which life has laboured so long and painfully to escape."
~ Sir Laurens VanderPost (former prisoner of war), The Night of the New Moon, 1970

"The exercising of the concept of forgiveness in any conflict situation always begins as a re-action to what is perceived as unfair, unjust suffering. It is a form of surrender of power, a willingness to live with a degree of unfairness; and therefore the hardest 'active' step to take."
~ Dr. Lewis Smedes, Forgive and Forget, 1984

"The act of forgiving is an important part of man's emulation of God, and asking God to teach us how to forgive is to be beneficiary of one of His greatest gifts."
~ Rabbi Elmer Berger

"...the drag of the past on the present prevents the future..."
"In the final analysis of the Hebrew Christian view of the world, broken human beings are more valuable than the laws they break or that break them. Most valuable of all is an act which restores law's authority while also healing the human brokenness. Forgiveness is that act."
~ Dr. Donald Shriver, Forgiveness and Politics

"Nothing worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime...therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history...therefore we must be saved by faith. No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint...therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness."
~ Reinhold Neibuhr, The Irony of American History, 1952

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