If we expect to live in a peaceful world, forgiveness is indispensable. Without it, we would be trapped in an endless series of senseless and violent feuds with others. But forgiveness is a two-way street that follows the Golden Rule: if we wish for others to forgive us, we must be ready to forgive others. Choosing to punish the other is easy because it follows our lower instincts and emotions, but forgiveness requires restraint and reflection from the perspective of a more conscious view of the world and the nature of relationships.

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The New Testament
Christian scripture

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer

“Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person — and he would not need it. Remember, this repentance, this willing submission to humiliation and a kind of death, is not something God demands of you before He will take you back and which He could let you off if He chose: it is simply a description of what going back to Him is like."

The New Testament
Christian scripture

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture

“Those who have been graced with bounty and plenty should not swear that they will [no longer] give to kinsmen, the poor, those who emigrated in God’s way: let them pardon and forgive. Do you not wish that God should forgive you? God is most forgiving and merciful."

Ibn al-Mubarak
Early Muslim teacher

"Every night, before I go to sleep, I forgive whoever has wronged me. I remove any bad feelings towards anyone from my heart."

The Musannaf
A collection of Islamic writings

"Abu Az-Zar’a reported: Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “A monk worshiped Allah in his hermitage for sixty years. Then a woman came and laid down at his side, so he laid down with her and was intimate(in adultery) with her for six nights. He became regretful and he fled. He arrived at a mosque and sought refuge in it and remained inside for three days without eating anything. He was given a loaf of bread, so he broke it into two halves and gave half to the (hungry) man on his right and half to the (hungry)man on his left. Allah sent to him the angel of death to take hold of his soul. The angel placed his deeds of sixty years upon one side of the scale and he placed the six nights on the other side, yet the six nights outweighed it. Then, he placed the loaf of bread on the scale and it outweighed the six nights."

Babylonian Talmud
Collection of Jewish writings

“Great is repentance, for it brings healing to the world[…]When an individual repents, s/he is forgiven, and the entire world with him."

Baha'i prophet

"Verily, the breezes of forgiveness have been wafted from the direction of your Lord, the God of Mercy; whoso turneth thereunto shall be cleansed of his sins, and of all pain and sickness. Happy the man that hath turned towards them, and woe betide him that hath turned aside."

Baha'i leader

“Repentance is the return from disobedience to obedience. Man, after remoteness and deprivation from God, repents and undergoes purification: and this is a symbol signifying ‘O God! make my heart good and pure, freed and sanctified from all save Thy love."

Mahatma Gandhi
Acknowledged by Indians as Father of the Nation

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

Jeff Wilson
Scholar of Religion and East Asian studies

“Kuyo is a memorial rite, derived from the verb “to offer,” as in to offer prayers and apologies. There are countless varieties of kuyo in Japanese Buddhism, and they are among the most common religious practices—everything from ancestors to sushi to broken sewing needles receive kuyo rites.”