Forgiveness is hard.
Like me, you’ve probably heard countless times that forgiving is the right thing to do. Harboring grudges and resentment is one of the fastest ways to illness, both physical and mental. It can affect every aspect of our lives, and leave us hardened, critical, harsh, and stuck in the past.
And on the flip side, forgiving others is one of the fastest ways to experience peace. When we choose to forgive one another, just as Christ has forgiven us, we’re blessed. We experience the freedom of only holding ourselves accountable for our own actions – and not trying to keep track of others’. Forgiveness allows God to work powerfully in our lives.
One quote I use often when talking about forgiveness is this:
‘Unforgiveness is drinking poison, expecting it to kill someone else.’
No good will ever come from unforgiveness. Ever.
But forgiving can sometimes feel impossible. Especially if the person in question feels no remorse for hurting us.
How are we supposed to forgive someone who seems to enjoy causing us pain? Why should we forgive when we only feel like holding onto our grudges? What do we do if we manage to forgive – and they grieve us yet again?
People aren’t perfect. Definitely not me. Not you. Not anyone else in this world. So this side of Heaven, relationships and interactions with one another won’t be perfect either. We’ll hurt each other and say things we shouldn’t say and do things we shouldn’t do. If we refuse to move past those moments, we’ll never grow and we can never have fellowship.
But fellowship is important. A life without close relationships is a sad one indeed. We all crave companionship and friendship. And you can’t have that unless you’re willing to forgive. Even when it’s hard.
I struggle to forgive when someone hurts me deeply. 1 However, I know that I don’t want to live a life of grudges and wallowing in my bitterness. I need God’s help to live in peace and fellowship with others – even if we hurt each other.
And thankfully, God is not slow to help us with that task. In fact, He wants to. He’s ready and waiting for us to seek Him, and to ask for His help in forgiving those who’ve hurt us.
In addition to lots of prayer and intentional dwelling on Scriptures that remind and encourage me to forgive, I’ve found it very helpful to hear what other Christians have to say about letting go of grudges. So today, I thought I’d share ten of my favorite quotes about forgiveness, with the prayer that they move you as much as they move me.
1. “First, it is utterly inappropriate for one who knows the joy and release of being forgiven to refuse to share that blessing with another. Second, it is highly presumptuous to refuse to forgive one whom Christ Himself has already forgiven.”
2. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
(Lewis B. Smedes)
3. “Forgiveness is manifested mercy; it is love in action – not love based on a feeling, but love based on a decision, an intentional choice to obey God.”
4. “The love of Jesus Christ covers your sins, and it also gives you the power to let other people off the hook. You’ve been forgiven, and you can forgive others.”
5. “Forgive, forget. Bear with the faults of others as you would have them bear with yours. Be patient and understanding. Life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.”
6. “You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you.”
7. “By forgiving the hurt and disappointments of your past, you release it from holding onto you in your future, and hindering your progress.”
8. “If you have ever seen a country church with a bell in the steeple, you will remember that to get the bell ringing you have to tug awhile. Once it has begun to ring, you merely maintain the momentum. As long as you keep pulling, the bell keeps ringing. Forgiveness is letting go of the rope. It is just that simple. But when you do so, the bell keeps ringing. Momentum is still at work. However, if you keep your hands off the rope, the bell will begin to slow and eventually stop.”
(Corrie Ten Boom)
9. “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
(C. S. Lewis)
10. “If Jesus forgave those who nailed Him to the cross, and if God forgives you and me, how can you withhold your forgiveness from someone else?”
(Anne Graham Lotz)
There’s no point in denying it – forgiveness is hard. It’s painful, it’s messy, and it’s usually the last thing we want to do in our relationships with people who’ve hurt us. But it’s also necessary. For healing. For hope. And for having an intimate relationship with God, and other people. Just as God has forgiven us, He will give us the strength to forgive others, if we only ask. Today, I pray that you and I wouldn’t ever hesitate to ask Him for that strength.
Did any of these quotes speak to you today? Go ahead and let me know your favorites in the comments, as well as if there is a certain topic you’d like to see more quotes about. While you’re there, I’d love to hear something YOU’RE learning about forgiveness!
Bear with each other and forgive one another
if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
(Colossians 3:13 NIV)
1. I talked about forgiving in my post here.
2. I shared more of my quote collection in many previous posts, which you can find here.
3. To receive your own printable pages of the above quotes (and the ones used in my other ‘Quotes’ posts), sign up for my email list! Simply fill in the form here, and I’ll send you PDF copies of the quote collections – as well as an inspirational short story. I look forward to hearing from you!