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Forgiveness is a process of letting go of the anger and resentment for a perceived wrong-doing or debt. The International Forgiveness Institute distinguishes several kinds of forgiveness:


  • It is a response to an injustice (a moral wrong).
  • It is turning to the "good" in the face of this wrongdoing.


  • Merciful restraint from pursuing resentment or revenge. Generosity or offering good things such as: attention, time, remembrances on holidays.
  • Moral Love or contributing to the betterment of the other.


  • It is the foregoing of resentment or revenge when the wrongdoer's actions deserve it and giving the gifts of mercy, generosity and love when the wrongdoer does not deserve them.
  • As we give the gift of forgiveness we ourselves are healed.

Beyond duty

  • A freely chosen gift (rather than a grim obligation).
  • The overcoming of wrongdoing with good.

They point out that forgiveness is not denial or ignoring the wrong-doing, condoning it, pretending it didn't happen or that the person wasn't really responsible. Forgiveness isn't morally superior and no compensation is required for forgiveness. It is not condemning.

Additional resources


Author: J Kim Wright