Quotes on Forgiveness

See also 3rd Nephi 12:44; 13:14-15; D&C 18:16, 58:42, 62:3, 64:9-10; Luke 15;14-32, 23:34; Matthew 5:38-44; John 8:6-11; Isaiah 1:16-18; Genesis 45:5; 1 Samuel 24:12  

Carrying a grudge is a heavy burden. As you forgive, you will feel the joy of being forgiven. — Henry B Eyring

There is someone I love, even though I don’t approve of what he does. There is someone I accept, though some of his thoughts and actions revolt me. There is someone I forgive, though he hurts the people I love the most. That person is me. — C.S. Lewis

Forgiveness is powerful spiritual medicine. To extend forgiveness, that soothing balm, to those who have offended you is to heal. And, more difficult yet, when the need is there, forgive yourself! – Boyd K. Packer

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

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. – Mark Twain

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

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. — Lewis B. Smedes

One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory. — Rita Mea Brown

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. — CS Lewis
 
True forgiveness is when you can say, “Thank you for that experience. — Oprah Winfrey
 
Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude. — Martin Luther King Jr.
 
Save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness.  That is the promise of the atonement of Christ.
[Footnote]  Forgiveness will come eventually to all repentant souls who have not committed the unpardonable sin (see Matt. 12:31).  Forgiveness does not, however, necessarily assure exaltation, as is the case with David (see D&C 132:38-39; see also Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:25-27; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 339) — President Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, November 1995, p. 20-21

“We may get angry with our parents, or a teacher, or the bishop, and dwarf ourselves into nameless anonymity as we shrivel and shrink under the venom and poison of bitterness and hatred.  While the hated one goes on about his business, little realizing the suffering of the hater, the latter cheats himself.

“. . . To terminate activity in the Church just to spite leaders or to give vent to wounded feelings is to cheat ourselves” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 242-43). Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 92

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge our future. . . . Truly forgiving one another requires a high commitment to the principles of Christianity.  We must keep personal pride under control and put forth an extra measure of love for the person or persons involved.

 . . . None of us lives life so perfectly that we can presume to be altogether above the kinds of weaknesses we see in others.  We should be quick to praise and slow to criticize – and we should avoid the pitfall of engaging in unrighteous judgment. — Elder LeGrand R. Curtis, Ensign, July 1995, p. 33

The Lord can judge men by their thoughts as well as by what they say and do, for He knows even the intents of their hearts; but this is not true of humans.  We hear what people say, we see what they do, but being unable to discern what they think or intend, we often judge wrongfully if we try to fathom the meaning of motives behind their actions and place on them our own interpretation. — President Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness

Our vision is completely obscured when we have no mirror to hold up to our own faults and look only for the foibles of others.  When we follow the instructions of the Lord, we are kept so busy perfecting ourselves that we come to realize that the faults of others are small in comparison. — President Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness

When we say we cannot forgive, we are putting our feelings of hard heartedness beyond the Savior’s call to forgive all men and women.  If we are seeking the peace that the gospel offers, we must grant the possibility that we can be forgiving and not take offense at all. — Terrance D. Olson, BYU Education Week, August 1992

It is reported that President Brigham Young once said that he who takes offense when no offense was intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense was intended is usually a fool. — Elder Marion D. Hanks, Ensign, January 1974, p. 21

Forgiveness is the most difficult thing there is.  Consider it an opportunity to prove yourself to God. — Michael Ballam, BYU Education Week, August 1992

Forgiveness is a personal attribute, not just a decision we make from time to time when we feel we should.  To have a forgiving heart is to see the world in a different light.  It is to forsake the tendency to judge, condemn, exclude, or hate any human soul.  A forgiving heart seeks to love and to be patient with imperfection.  The forgiving heart understands that we are all in need of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

A forgiving heart is one of the most Christlike virtues we can possess.  If we have a forgiving heart, our very nature will be kind, patient, long-suffering, and charitable.  forgiveness plants and nourishes the seeds of Christlike love in both the giver and the receiver.  Indeed, forgiveness, in its fullest expression, is synonymous with charity, the pure love of Christ. — Roderick J. Linton, Ensign, April 1993, p. 15

Is the Lord truly saying that refusing to forgive another is a greater sin than the offense committed against us?  Yes.  Truman Madsen suggests one reason for this:  In refusing to forgive another, we, in effect, attempt to deny the blessings of the Atonement to that person. — Roderick J. Linton, Ensign, April 1993, p. 16

If we fail to forgive ourselves when God has done so, we make ourselves a higher judge than Him. — C. S. Lewis

“Lord, help me to forgive others who sin differently than I.” — Elder Henry B. Eyring, BYU Education Week 2000

. . . there surely must be someone who yet needs your forgiveness.

And please don’t ask if that’s fair – that the injured should have to bear the burden of forgiveness for the offender.  Don’t ask if “justice” doesn’t demand that it be the other way around.  No, whatever you do, don’t ask for justice.  You and I know that what we plead for is mercy – and that is what we must be willing to give. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “I Stand All Amazed,” Ensign, August 1986, p. 72

Some who have overcome serious sin in their own lives blame themselves because of that prior disobedience when a loved one does not respond as desired.  Such promptings come from Satan, not from the Lord.  Alma could help his son, Corianton, because Alma spoke from a position of strength, knowing that his own sins had been entirely forgiven through repentance. — Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May 1988

Don’t insist on remembering things the Lord is willing to forget. — President Hugh B. Brown

Some people say that to completely forgive someone we must forget what transpired.  I am not convinced this is possible, short of brain surgery. . . . Compassion will help the forgiving person to finally let go of the incident, leave it alone, and with the aid of the Spirit, let days and weeks of life’s other challenges and blessings help it fade into the past. . . .

Forgiveness and trust are not synonymous.  We are required to forgive everyone (see D&C 64:10) but counseled to be cautious in placing our trust in others (see Matthew 7:6; Proverbs 25:19).  Trust places a responsibility in people that they may not be ready to handle.  Trust must be earned. — Steve F. Gilliland, “Forgiveness, Our Challenge and Our Blessing,” Ensign, August 2004, pp. 47-48

 [President Gordon B. Hinckley] recalled that a man had once offended him by taking from him legally, though unethically, an asset of his.

“I got on my knees and prayed to the Lord for the heart to forgive and forget.  That is what happened.  It passed completely from my mind.  Years ago it passed.

“Brothers and sisters, I plead with you if you have in your systems any element of grudge against anybody, an unforgiving attitude, get rid of it.  It will destroy you.  It will poison you.  It will affect your lives.  It will affect your children.” — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ogden Regional Conference, September 19, 2004; “Trust the Lord,” Church News, September 25, 2004

For much of his life Joseph F. Smith witnessed severe persecutions directed at the Church and its members.  He was repeatedly harassed by those who opposed the work of the Lord and His Church, and he suffered greatly at their hands.  Despite this abuse, he went about his affairs peaceably, not fearing and rarely responding to his enemies – enemies whom he described as “not mine,” but “his whom I am trying to serve.”  (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. (1939), 271)

His daughter Edith Eleanor recalled a time from her youth when “the news media was really persecuting my father.  Some of the people at school had in their possession false reports and lies about Father.  I went home from school furious one day.  As soon Father came in that evening I said to him, ‘Papa, why don’t you do something?  You’re not doing one thing, and these mean men are taking advantage of you, printing all these lies, and you don’t do one thing about it!’” Her father looked at her and smiled and said, “‘Baby, don’t get upset.  They are not hurting me one bit; they are only hurting themselves.  Don’t you know, Baby, that when someone tells a lie they are only hurting themselves more than anyone else?’”  (“Remembering Joseph F. Smith,” Ensign, June 1983, 22)

President Smith was intent on returning good for evil and was so determined to do good that if he learned he had offended another, he could not rest until the wounds were healed.  He once said: “Have I done or said anything to hurt you?  If I have, I want to say it has been unintentional.  I never in my life intentionally hurt the feelings of any individual. . . . All ye that have been injured by me, all ye whom I have wronged, if there are any such, let me know wherein I have wronged you, and I will do all in my power to make it right with you.  I have no malice in my heart toward my brethren.  I have only love, charity and an earnest desire to do good.”  (Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, 31 Mar. 1896, 9) Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, pp. 257-58

In teaching the Saints not to accuse one another, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “What many people call sin is not sin” (Teachings, p. 193).  I believe the large category of actions that are mistakes rather than sins illustrates the truth of that statement.  If we would be more understanding of one another’s mistakes, being satisfied merely to correct and not to chasten or call to repentance, we would surely promote loving and living together in greater peace and harmony.

The appropriateness of that approach as applied to mistakes is surely illustrated by the Prophet Joseph Smith’s well-known teachings to the first Relief Society.  There he taught the sisters to be kind and loving toward those who made mistakes, and also toward sinners.  He said:

“Suppose that Jesus Christ and holy angels should object to us on frivolous things, what would become of us?  We must be merciful to one another, and overlook small things. . . .

“Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness.  When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind. . . .

“. . . There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand in hand with reproof.  (Teachings, pp. 240-41) — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Sins and Mistakes,” Speeches, BYU 1993-94, pp. 197-98

“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12) really means, “Father, do not forgive me one iota more than I am willing to forgive others.” — Madison U. Sowell, “On Measuring Flour and Forgiveness,” Speeches, BYU 1996-97, p. 50

Bishop Jacob Foutz was shot and left for dead at the Haun’s Mill Massacre in Missouri in October 1938.  According to an account written by Jacob’s wife, Margaret Mann Foutz, after the massacre Jacob and another brother survived by drawing dead bodies over themselves and feigning death.

Margaret records that these two men thus “saved their own lives and heard what some of the mob said.  After the firing was over two little boys that were in the blacksmith shop begged for their lives, but . . . one of the mob said ‘Nits will make lice,’ meaning ‘they will make Mormons’ and he put the muzzle of his gun to the boys’ heads and [ended their lives].  (Grace Foutz Boulter, History of Bishop Jacob Foutz Sr. and Family, Including a Story of the Haun’s Mill Massacre, Feb. 1944, p. 7)

After Margaret found Jacob, she got him home and eventually assisted him in removing a bullet from his hip with a kitchen knife.  She applied a poultice to his wound and disguised him in women’s clothes to trick the murderous mob when it returned to exterminate male survivors.

Though physically scarred for life, Jacob did survive, and, what is most important, he thrived spiritually.  He was called as a bishop in Nauvoo, served a mission in Pennsylvania, and moved west with the Saints in 1847, continuing to serve as a bishop until his premature death the following year.  Although Bishop Foutz sought legal redress for the financial losses he suffered at Haun’s Mill, he did not allow the poisonous venom of hate and vengeance to destroy his spiritual life.  Instead he bequeathed to his posterity a legacy of faith and forgiveness that continues to the present generation. — Madison U. Sowell, “On Measuring Flour and Forgiveness,” Speeches, BYU 1996-97, pp. 47-48

I believe that our Heavenly Father wants to save every one of his children.  I do not think he intends to shut any of us off. . . . I believe that in his justice and mercy he will give us the maximum reward for our acts, give us all that he can give, and in the reverse, I believe that he will impose upon us the minimum penalty which it is possible for him to impose. — President J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, October 3, 1953, p. 84

A natural consequence of conversion is the continued remission of sin by living the gospel, which includes sharing the gospel with others.  President Spencer W. Kimball declared, “The Lord has told us that our sins will be forgiven more readily as we bring souls unto Christ and remain steadfast in bearing testimony to the world, and surely every one of us is looking for additional help in being forgiven of our sins.” — Ensign, October 1977, p. 5

I submit that it takes neither strength nor intelligence to brood in anger over wrongs suffered, to go through life with a spirit of vindictiveness, to dissipate one’s abilities in planning retribution.  There is no peace in the nursing of a grudge.  There is no happiness sin living for the day when you can “get even.” — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Ensign, June 1991, p. 2

The great Atonement was the supreme act of forgiveness.  The magnitude of that Atonement is beyond our ability to completely understand.  I know only that it happened, and that it was for me and for you.  The suffering was so great, the agony so intense, that none of us can comprehend it when the Savior offered Himself as a ransom for the sins of all mankind.

It is through Him that we gain forgiveness.  It is through Him that there comes the certain promise that all mankind will be granted the blessings of salvation, with resurrection from the dead.  It is through Him and His great overarching sacrifice that we are offered the opportunity through obedience of exaltation and eternal life. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Forgiveness,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 84

Likewise, one deeply admires those wronged who, nevertheless, go on doing that which is right, refusing to become offended or bitter.  Let others charge God foolishly (see Job 1:22); these faithful souls are magnanimous and forgiving, as was a generous Joseph in Egypt to his erring brothers:  “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). Such Saints fashion forgiveness where others would revel in resentment! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, May 1983, p. 11

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. — Lewis B. Smedes

. . . To achieve our eternal destiny, we will desire and work for the qualities required to become an eternal being.  For example, eternal beings forgive all who have wronged them. They put the welfare of others ahead of themselves. And they love all of God’s children. If this seems too difficult – and surely it is not easy for any of us – then we should begin with a desire for such qualities and call upon our loving Heavenly Father for help with our feelings.  The Book of Mormon teaches us that we should “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that [we] may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:48). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Desire,” Ensign, May 2011, pp. 44-45

Latter-day Saints are taught to love one another and to frankly forgive offenses.

My life was changed by a saintly patriarch.  He married his sweetheart.  They were deeply in love, and soon she was expecting their first child.  The night the baby was born, there were complications.  The only doctor was somewhere in the countryside tending to the sick.  After many hours of labor, the condition of the mother-to-be became desperate. Finally, the doctor was located.  In the emergency, he acted quickly and soon the baby was born, and the crisis, it appeared, was over.  But some days later, the young mother died from the very infection that the doctor had been treating at another home that night.

The young man’s world was shattered.  As the weeks wore on, his grief festered.  He thought of little else, and in his bitterness he became threatening.  Today, no doubt, he would have been pressed to file a malpractice suit, as though money would solve anything.

One night a knock came at his door.  A little girl said simply, “Daddy wants you to come over.  He wants to talk to you.”

“Daddy” was the stake president.  The counsel from that wise leader was simply “John, leave it alone.  Nothing you do about it will bring her back.  Anything you do will make it worse.  John, leave it alone.”

This had been my friend’s trial.  How could he leave it alone?  A terrible wrong had been committed.  He struggled to get hold of himself and finally determined that he should be obedient and follow the counsel of that wise stake president.  He would leave it alone.

He said, “I was an old man before I understood and could finally see a poor country doctor – overworked, underpaid, run ragged from patient to patient, with little medicine, no hospital, few instruments, struggling to save lives, and succeeding for the most part.  He had come in a moment of crisis, when two lives hung in the balance, and had acted without delay.  I finally understood!”  He said, “I would have ruined my life and the lives of others.”

Many times he had thanked the Lord on his knees for a wise priesthood leader who counseled simply, “John, leave it alone.” — President Boyd K. Packer, “Guided by the Holy Spirit,” Ensign, May 2011

In the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania, a devout group of Christian people live a simple life without automobiles, electricity, or modern machinery.  They work hard and live quiet, peaceful lives separate from the world.  Most of their food comes from their own farms.  The women sew and knit and weave their clothing, which is modest and plain.  They are known as the Amish people.

A 32-year-old milk truck driver lived with his family in their Nickel Mines community. He was not Amish, but his pickup route took him to many Amish dairy farms, where he became known as the quiet milkman.  Last October he suddenly lost all reason and control. In his tormented mind he blamed God for the death of his first child and some unsubstantiated memories.  He stormed into the Amish school without any provocation, released the boys and adults, and tied up the 10 girls. He shot the girls, killing five and wounding five.  Then he took his own life.

This shocking violence caused great anguish among the Amish but no anger.  There was hurt but no hate.  Their forgiveness was immediate.  Collectively they began to reach out to the milkman’s suffering family.  As the milkman’s family gathered in his home the day after the shootings, an Amish neighbor came over, wrapped his arms around the father of the dead gunman, and said, “We will forgive you.”  Amish leaders visited the milkman’s wife and children to extend their sympathy, their forgiveness, their help, and their love. About half of the mourners at the milkman’s funeral were Amish.  In turn, the Amish invited the milkman’s family to attend the funeral services of the girls who had been killed.  A remarkable peace settled on the Amish as their faith sustained them during this crisis.

One local resident very eloquently summed up the aftermath of this tragedy when he said, “We were all speaking the same language, and not just English, but a language of caring, a language of community, [and] a language of service.  And, yes, a language of forgiveness.”  It was an amazing outpouring of their complete faith in the Lord’s teachings in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”

The family of the milkman who killed the five girls released the following statement to the public:

“To our Amish friends, neighbors, and local community:

“Our family wants each of you to know that we are overwhelmed by the forgiveness, grace, and mercy that you’ve extended to us.  Your love for our family has helped to provide the healing we so desperately need.  The prayers, flowers, cards, and gifts you’ve given have touched our hearts in a way no words can describe.  Your compassion has reached beyond our family, beyond our community, and is changing our world, and for this we sincerely thank you.

“Please know that our hearts have been broken by all that has happened.  We are filled with sorrow for all of our Amish neighbors whom we have loved and continue to love. We know that there are many hard days ahead for all the families who lost loved ones, and so we will continue to put our hope and trust in the God of all comfort, as we all seek to rebuild our lives.”

How could the whole Amish group manifest such an expression of forgiveness?  It was because of their faith in God and trust in His word, which is part of their inner beings. They see themselves as disciples of Christ and want to follow His example.

Hearing of this tragedy, many people sent money to the Amish to pay for the health care of the five surviving girls and for the burial expenses of the five who were killed.  As a further demonstration of their discipleship, the Amish decided to share some of the money with the widow of the milkman and her three children because they too were victims of this terrible tragedy. — President James E. Faust, “The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 2007

Many of us today allow ourselves to be offended over equally trivial things.  A slip of the tongue by a priesthood leader who meant no offense.  A Church calling that seems more convenient than inspired.  A neighborhood bridal shower that inadvertently excludes one person.

By virtue of our membership in the Church and the interactions that our membership requires, we all can find numerous reasons to take offense.  Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve said Church members should be prepared for that inevitability.

“In some way and at some time, someone in this Church will do or say something that could be considered offensive,” he said.  “Such an event will surely happen to each and every one of us — and it certainly will occur more than once.  Though people may not intend to injure or offend us, they nonetheless can be inconsiderate and tactless.

“You and I cannot control the intentions or behavior of other people.  However, we do determine how we will act.  Please remember that you and I are endowed with moral agency, and we can choose not to be offended.”

Elder Bednar said understanding that the Church is a learning laboratory helps us shun offense.

“When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed or disrespected,” he said. “And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense.  However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false.  To be offended is a choice we make.  It is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”  (Elder David A. Bednar, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Liahona, November 2006, 89-92.)

The scriptures teach us to triumph over offense.  “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165).

A wise Church member who recently could have been offended – but chose not to be – put it another way.  Sometimes it is best, he said, to “let it go.”

            “All of us carry baggage around from time to time, but the wisest ones among us don’t carry it for very long,” said President Boyd K. Packer, president of the Quorum of the Twelve.  “Some things that ought to be put in order are not put in order because you can’t control them.

            “Often, however, the things we carry are petty, even stupid.  If you are still upset after all these years because Aunt Clara didn’t come to your wedding reception, why don’t you grow up?  Forget it.

            “If you brood constantly over some past mistake, settle it – look ahead.

            “If the bishop didn’t call you right – or release you right – forget it.

            “If you resent someone for something he has done – or failed to do – forget it.

            “We call that forgiveness.  It is powerful, spiritual medicine” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Balm of Gilead,” New Era, August 1979, 36).

After the quarrel over cream, Brother Marsh turned against the Church and went before a government official to declare that the Latter-day Saints were hostile toward the state of Missouri.  That testimony was a factor in the governor’s exterminating order which drove the Saints from Missouri.  After 19 years, Brother Marsh returned to the Church, asked forgiveness and realized the high cost of his offense.

Simonds Ryder, unable to accept Joseph Smith’s spelling imperfections, later apostatized from the Church.

And Frazier Eaton, once faithful enough to donate a large sum of money to the Church’s temple fund, could have attended a repeated dedication of the Kirtland Temple for those who could not be accommodated in the first dedication.  But instead, he walked away from all the blessings the gospel could have afforded him.

Each would have avoided suffering and lost blessings if they simply could have “let it go.”  As petty, trivial things impact us today, let’s not follow their lead. — Church News, Viewpoint, Saturday, September 12, 2009

You cannot erase what has been done, but you can forgive.  (See D&C 64:10.)  Forgiveness heals terrible, tragic wounds, for it allows the love of God to purge your heart and mind of the poison of hate.  It cleanses your consciousness of the desire for revenge.  It makes place for the purifying, healing, restoring love of the Lord. — Elder Richard G. Scott, Ensign, May 1992, p. 33

Imperfect people are, in fact, called by our perfect Lord to assist in His work.  The Lord declared to certain associates of Joseph Smith that He knew that they had observed Joseph’s minor imperfections.  Even so, the Lord then testified that the revelations given through the Prophet were true!  (See D&C 67:5, 9.)

Unsurprisingly, therefore, we do notice each other’s weaknesses.  But we should not celebrate them.  Let us be grateful for the small strides that we and others make, rather than rejoice in the shortfalls.  And when mistakes occur, let them become instructive, not destructive. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “A Brother Offended,” Ensign, May 1982, p. 37

I wish today to speak of forgiveness.  I think it may be the greatest virtue on earth, and certainly the most needed.  There is so much of meanness and abuse, of intolerance and hatred.  There is so great a need for repentance and forgiveness.  It is the great principle emphasized in all of scripture, both ancient and modern.

In all of our sacred scripture, there is no more beautiful story of forgiveness than that of the prodigal son found in the 15th chapter of Luke.  Everyone should read and ponder it occasionally. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Forgiveness,” Ensign, November 2005

I know of no more beautiful story in all literature than that found in the fifteenth chapter of Luke.  It is the story of a repentant son and a forgiving father.  It is the story of a son who wasted his inheritance in riotous living, rejecting his father’s counsel, spurning those who loved him.  When he had spent all, he was hungry and friendless, and “when he came to himself” (Luke 15:17), he turned back to his father, who, on seeing him afar off, “ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

I ask you to read that story.  Every parent ought to read it again and again.  It is large enough to encompass every household, and enough larger than that to encompass all mankind, for are we not all prodigal sons and daughters who need to repent and partake of the forgiving mercy of our Heavenly Father and then follow His example? — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Ensign, June 1991, p. 5

May God help us to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Forgiveness,” Ensign, Nov. 2005, p. 84

Remember that we must forgive even if our offender did not repent and ask forgiveness. . . . Do we follow that commandment or do we sulk in our bitterness, waiting for our offender to learn of it and to kneel to us in remorse? . . . No bitterness of past frictions can be held in memory if we forgive with all our hearts. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1949, pp. 132-33

The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts:  to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, “I was wrong.” — Sydney Harris

Sometimes we carry unhappy feelings about past hurts too long.  We spend too much energy dwelling on things that have passed and cannot be changed.  We struggle to close the door and let go of the hurt.  If, after time, we can forgive whatever may have caused the hurt, we will tap “into a life-giving source of comfort” through the Atonement, and the “sweet peace” of forgiveness will be ours  (“My Journey to Forgiving,” Ensign, Feb. 1997. 43).  Some injuries are so hurtful and deep that healing comes only with help from a higher power and hope for perfect justice and restitution in the next life. . . . You can tap into that higher power and receive precious comfort and sweet peace. — President James E. Faust, “Instruments in the Hands of God,” Ensign, Nov. 2005, p. 115

We see the need for forgiveness in the homes of the people, where tiny molehills of misunderstanding are fanned into mountains of argument.  We see it among neighbors, where insignificant differences lead to undying bitterness.  We see it in business associates who quarrel and refuse to compromise and forgive when, in most instances, if there were a willingness to sit down together and speak quietly one to another, the matter could be resolved to the blessing of all.  Rather, they spend their days nurturing grudges and planning retribution. . . .

 . . . There is no peace in reflecting on the pain of old wounds.  There is peace only in repentance and forgiveness.  This is the sweet peace of the Christ, who said, “blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matt. 5:9).” — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, June 1991, pp. 2, 5

Remember that we must forgive even if our offender did not repent and ask forgiveness. . . . Do we follow that commandment or do we sulk in our bitterness, waiting for our offender to learn of it and to kneel to us in remorse? . . . No bitterness of past frictions can be held in memory if we forgive with all our hearts. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, Oct. 1949

In truth, we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  We are all in need of mercy.  In that last day when we are called to the judgment bar of God, do we not hope that our many imperfections will be forgiven?  Do we not yearn to feel the Savior’s embrace?  It seems only right and proper that we extend to others that which we so earnestly desire for ourselves. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “You Are My Hands”, Ensign May 2010, pp. 68-70, 75

We all have our weaknesses and failings.  Sometimes the husband sees a failing in his wife, and he upbraids her with it.  Sometimes the wife feels that her husband has not done just the right thing, and she upbraids him.  What good does it do?  Is not forgiveness better?  Is not charity better?  Is not love better?  Isn’t it better not to speak of faults, not to magnify weaknesses by iterating and reiterating them?  Isn’t that better?  and will not the union that has been cemented between you and the birth of children and by the bond of the new and everlasting covenant, be more secure when you forget to mention weaknesses and faults one of another?  Is it not better to drop them and say nothing about them – bury them and speak only of the good that you know and feel, one for another, and thus bury each other’s faults and not magnify them; isn’t that better?” — President Joseph F. Smith, “Sermon on Home Government,” Millennial Star, 25 Jan. 1912, pp. 49-50

If there be any who nurture in their hearts the poisonous brew of enmity toward another, I plead with you to ask the Lord for strength to forgive.  This expression of desire will be of the very substance of your repentance.  It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly.  But if you will seek it with sincerity and cultivate it, it will come. . . .  There will come into your heart a peace otherwise unattainable. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, June 1991, p. 5

The Prophet of the Lord said: “My boy, never forget that when you are in the line of your duty your heart will be full of love and forgiveness, even for the repentant sinner, and that when you get out of that straight line of duty and have the determination that what you think is justice and what you think is equity and right should prevail, you ofttimes are anything but happy.  You can know the difference between the Spirit of the Lord and the spirit of the adversary, when you find that you are happy and contented, that you love your fellows, that you are anxious for their welfare; and you can tell that you do not have that spirit when you are full of animosity and feel that you would like to knock somebody down.” — President John Taylor provided this counsel to President Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1920

What better example do we have of temperance than our Savior, Jesus Christ? When our hearts are stirred to anger by disputation and contention, the Savior taught that we should “repent, and become as a little child.”  We should be reconciled with our brother and come to the Savior with full purpose of heart.  When others are unkind, Jesus taught that “my kindness shall not depart from thee.”  When we are confronted with affliction, He said:  “Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile.  Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast.”  When we are oppressed, we can be comforted in knowing “he was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth.”  “Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” — Elder Kent D. Watson, “Being Temperate in All Things”, Ensign, Nov. 2009, pp. 38-39

Closely related to our own obligation to repent is the generosity of letting others do the same. . . . In this we participate in the very essence of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. . . . We don’t want God to remember our sins, so there is something fundamentally wrong in our relentlessly trying to remember others’ sins. . . . It is one of those ironies of godhood that in order to find peace, the offended as well as the offender must engage the principle of forgiveness. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, p. 82

Not only our eternal salvation depends upon our willingness and capacity to forgive wrongs committed against us.  Our joy and satisfaction in this life, and our true freedom, depend upon our doing so.  When Christ bade us turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, give our cloak to him who takes our coat, was it to be chiefly out of consideration for the bully, the brute, the thief?  Or was it to relieve the one aggrieved of the destructive burden that resentment and anger lay upon us?” — Elder Marion D. Hanks, “Forgiveness, The Ultimate Form of Love,” Ensign, January 1974, p. 20

Do not throw away a man or a woman, old or young.  If they commit an evil today and another tomorrow, but wish to be Saints and to be forgiven, do you forgive them, not only seven times, but seventy times seven in a day, if their hearts are fully set to do right.  Let us make it a point to pass over their weaknesses and say, “God bless you in trying to be better in time to come,” and act as wise stewards in the kingdom of God. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:368

Put away all unkind feelings, and let all your meditations be correct . . . . Avoid nursing misunderstandings into difficulties. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:72

We will be in this world only a short time.  The youngest and strongest of us are simply preparing for the other life, and before we get into the glory of our Father and enjoy the blessings that we hope to receive through faithfulness, we will have to live the laws of patience, and exercise forgiveness toward those who trespass against us, and remove from our hearts all feelings of hatred toward them. . . .

May we have the Spirit of the Master dwelling within us, that we may forgive all men as He has commanded, forgive, not only with our lips but in the very depths of our hearts, every trespass that may have been committed against us.  If we do this through life, the blessings of the Lord will abide in our hearts and our homes. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, p. 252-53

Each of us is under a divinely spoken obligation to reach out with pardon and mercy and to forgive one another.  There is a great need for this Christlike attribute in our families, in our marriages, in our wards and stakes, in our communities, and in our nations.  We will receive the joy of forgiveness in our own lives when we are willing to extend that joy freely to others.  Lip service is not enough.  We need to purge our hearts and minds of feelings and thoughts of bitterness and let the light and the love of Christ enter in.  As a result, the Spirit of the Lord will fill our souls with the joy accompanying divine peace of conscience. — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Point of Safe Return,” Ensign, May 2007