'He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us, and some evil in the best of us.' 

 Martin Luther King Jr. 

If someone has done something wrong to us it can make us sad or angry. Carrying around these bad feelings can make us feel even worse.  Forgiveness is letting go of the anger or resentment we feel when someone has treated us unfairly.

When we have been wronged there is often a desire not to let the offender ‘get away with it’.  There can be a sense that the forgiver is doing all of the giving and the offender all of the taking.

Far from being an act of weakness and submission, the willingness to forgive someone who has treated you badly is an act of moral strength.  It is a generous gift which acknowledges the inherent value in every person.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what has happened, but instead letting go of the bad feelings attached to it.  This makes it less likely our anger will be transferred into other areas of our lives or to people who do not deserve it.  Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation because reconciliation means restoring trust. If someone refuses to repent or change their ways you might forgive them, but it is unlikely you will trust them.

We can also refer to forgiveness as: putting hurt behind you and moving on; rubbing out a wrong.  The opposite of forgiveness is wanting others to suffer because you have suffered.  This is called vengefulness.

The decision to forgive someone rests with the individual, and children cannot be forced to forgive someone if they don’t want to.


I feel better when I forgive. 

Year 1

It can feel very unfair to forgive someone, but it's better for you in the long run. 

Year 2

When someone hurts me, I show love and kindness by forgiving them.