"I realised then that I had truly forgiven my father for harming me as a child. Forgiveness is a very personal journey but it can be a wonderful act of self-love."
"Forgiveness has helped me to see the process of working through my transgenerational transmission of unresolved trauma, guilt and shame as a gift."
"Forgiving the perpetrator is a means of dealing with your internal issues and ensuring you’re not embittered by the experience."
"For me forgiveness started with first forgiving the system, then forgiving my mum and eventually forgiving myself."
"Forgiveness became the vehicle I used to stay within my own humanity."
"Forgiveness doesn’t mean saying I’m OK with what he did, it means I can continue with my life in a more peaceful frame of mind."
"I hoped to find some sense of closure from finally meeting the man who had killed my child."
"My journey to healing started with self-forgiveness and then it became compassion."
"I used to feel that if I forgive Jacob it meant I’d forgotten James but now that Jacob has done so well forgiving him feels really natural."
"Through forgiveness I’ve learnt that love doesn’t die."
Brigitte Sossou Perenyi
"Forgiveness has freed me because it recognises we are all human and we all make mistakes."
Nyatuel Chuol Thok Loklok
"I had to forgive myself or else I couldn’t get rid of my militaristic mindset."
Elizabeth and Fernando Jimenez
"At first it was very difficult to forgive Nick but then I realised it was not about forgiving the man but about forgiving his stupidity."
"I had been totally focused on our differences but after three months of talking to Khalil I discovered common ground."
"It is through forgiveness that I have repossessed what was stolen from me and put it back where it rightfully belongs."
"I soon found out that forgiveness was the hardest word to say in public."
Thordis Elva and Tom Stranger
"Regardless of whether or not he deserved my forgiveness, I deserved peace."
"If I think about them too much I start to dream of revenge so then I have to stop myself because I know revenge will destroy me. I cannot allow myself to bleed and die inside."
"Deciding to forgive was a process, it’s not something that can happen overnight."
Margot Van Sluytman
"At first I hated the very notion of forgiveness. To tell someone who is in pain to forgive is brutal. Forgiveness can’t be prescriptive."
"My anger broke and tears filled my eyes as I cried the tears that I’d never been able to shed as a child."
"It’s extraordinary to think that the people I harmed the most were the people to judge me the least."
"Forgiveness won’t change the past, but it can change the present, which is where the future starts."
"They wanted him to be punished but I just said, "I'll never ever get justice for Martha because she's dead so why waste two young lives instead of just one"."
"In that instant, I realized how much negative energy it takes to hold hatred inside of you."
"I sense a freedom in trusting the process of life, that justice will find its own course and consequence."
"I choose to forgive her for my own health and happiness and to free myself from mental angst and bondage."
"But my anger is positive – it gives me the drive to continue what I’m doing."
"We decided we needed to reach out and get to know our neighbours, making contributions to our community and learning together."
"At first, I thought I was the great forgiver, but in the end I was the one to ask for forgiveness."
"In the past I’d always perceived him as this horrible man who didn’t understand or care for me, but now I just saw a father who loved his son."
"Softly the answer came; ‘forgiveness is mine to give, his reaction is irrelevant’."
Matthew Boger and Tim Zaal
"I knew the only way to get past what had happened so that it would no longer dictate my life was to forgive him."
"The missing step was embracing my anger in a healthy way."
"So please honour Jesse’s memory by consciously changing an angry thought into a loving one, to make this a better world."
Dr. Chuck Sandstrom
"To borrow from Harold Kushner, forgiveness is first and foremost a way of seeing. It cannot change the facts about the world we live in but it can change the way we see those facts."
Ish Kode Bish Iki / Morris (Doc) Mosay
"The abuse remains embedded within my people. It is very difficult to step outside the historical trauma that perpetuates."
"Healing is a meaningless word for Aboriginal people because we possess a wound that cannot be healed."
Bjørn Magnus Jacobsen Ihler
"I believe that we have to recognize Breivik’s humanity. I find people’s efforts to dehumanize him really scary because that’s what he tried to do to us."
"That brand of forgiveness was for extremists who went on Oprah."
"Most people don’t ever forgive because they see it as stampeding on the memory of their loved ones."
"I used to think that they were evil, but I started to understand that they didn't come into this world that way."
"I thought I had forgiven my Japanese captors, and yet was always aware of the hairs rising in the nape of my neck when I heard a Japanese voice."
"In that process I learned that to hold the ideology of separation, or racism, you have to have a closed heart. An open heart makes the ideology irrelevant."
Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel
"It was such a healing poem all about the commonality of pain and it showed me my destiny."
"At first I didn’t really believe in it, but in fact, it was the best thing that could have happened to me because I realised there were others who had suffered much more than I had."
"So many victims feel they are to blame, but being a victim does not mean you are guilty."
Munira Beba Hadzic
"If someone helps me, then I can help you, and you will help someone else. And as a result, people can stand up for themselves."
"At times it was incredibly tough. People said we couldn’t have loved Candace because we forgave. "
Jean Paul Samputu
"On that day I suddenly felt totally free. I felt a power that I cannot describe."
"Forgiveness is not about forgiving the act but forgiving the imperfections which are inherent in all of us."
"Lots of things in life are senseless. There’s so much we can’t explain but we need to be able to love the questions."
"In my view what he needed was psychotherapy, not prison."
"I dislike the term 'victims' because it places a weight on people."
"When I recovered myself I told him, 'I’m not crying for David, I’m crying for you. What have you done with your life?"'
Assaad Emile Chaftari
"I would venture into the jaws of hell if my story could shift just one person's views and move them away from violence."
"In time I discovered that forgiveness opens a channel for real spiritual power to work in my life; a power which brings healing and wholeness."
"I said that some of the things we did during the war were terrible and we shouldn’t have done them, but that these were unique circumstances and we were not in control of our actions or of what happened next."
Lynette D. Grace
"My mission now is to work with Johnny to offer a story of healing, forgiveness and restoration in the hope of inspiring others."
Philippe Ngirente and Teresphore Uzabakiriho
"We wanted to do more than just forgive, but to actually live as neighbours and friends, side by side."
"Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools I have known."
"What I forgive myself for today, I don’t know will apply tomorrow."
"My wife and I both said after the trial, Adam’s life is gone, but we don’t want to see another life ruined."
"I wanted to know what type of kid would do this?"
"Forgiveness is a sublime example of humanity that I explore at every opportunity."
"I had forgiven Charles, not condoned what he did. And I was still afraid of him."
"In the end, forgiveness released me from the hate that was consuming me."
"Forgiveness is pragmatic. It offers a real and lasting vengeance."
"The Restorative Justice conference taught me a lot. I learned that I should not be so judgemental."
"My work involves trying to give young people hope, helping them see there is life beyond their teenage years."
"Returning to Colombia, and hearing Antonio say sorry, and that he regretted what they’d done, was very healing indeed."
"I’m not a victim any more, I’m a survivor."
"Forgiving my attacker was easy...But forgiving myself for what happened took me 25 years."
"I’ve found that in order to forgive someone you have to pass a judgement on them in the first place. And I question that."
"He was just a kid, and a bit thick, and here he was in prison, with a criminal record and I was responsible for that."
"For me forgiveness is about finding an inner peace and accepting the cards you’ve been handed in life."
Noelle and Brendan McCauley
"If offenders engage with restorative justice at a young age, you might be able to nip it in the bud."
"The thought of meeting Jordan frightened me, and I didn’t want to get into an argument with him, but I wanted to know why he’d behaved the way he had."
"On leaving the prison I realised that things had changed for me; I’d gone from being a victim of crime to being able to see things more from Billy’s point of view."
"Forgiveness for me is a healing process, but it depends on people communicating and understanding."
"I needed to know why he had been drinking; what had brought him to that point in his life where he had no thought for anyone else?"
"I have remained active ever since, believing passionately that if Palestinian freedom fighters and former Israeli soldiers can form a group with a common cause, then anyone can."
"I believe violence breeds violence and there’s no choice now for me other than to find another way."
"The healing part of the story for me has been starting a new Combatants for Peace group in Nablus."
"In Combatants for Peace I am happy to talk to the young soldiers who have laid down their arms and are sorry for what they’ve done. I can forgive them."
"I wrote a letter to my commanders and told them I was no longer willing to take part in any fighting in the occupied Palestinian territories."
"Once the anger ceases, the heart opens and understanding is possible."
"I tried to hide my tears from the other prisoners who wouldn’t have understood why I was crying about the pain of my oppressors."
"I hated his actions, but I could not hate the person."
"It was what my mum had taught me – to love him for who he was, not for what he did."
"Once I had felt forgiveness for my attacker, I saw that I also had to forgive my parents."
"I told them that killing these boys will not bring my family back."
Barry and Margaret Mizen
"The only answer to violence in our society is a peaceful response; however there must also be a sense of justice."
"Forgiveness is different from trusting. You don’t have to trust someone just because they are forgiven."
"Forgiveness relieved me of a burden I didn’t want to carry."
Peter Woolf and Will Riley
"Talking is the only way forward. People who don’t talk (which is the majority of victims) are delaying and even maintaining the pain."
"I didn’t decide not to hate because I’m a good person, I decided not to hate because hating would have finished the job they’d started so successfully."
"He told us that he was expecting me to want to kill him, which he said would be justice since he had killed my mother."
"I said that it was my forgiveness to give and that what he decided to do with it was up to him."
"I think the press particularly expect people like me to be angry and unforgiving but the truth is I have never felt any animosity towards my captors."
"I knew that if something didn’t change I would be in the graveyard, dead from a broken heart, next to my little daughter."
"I refused to be pigeonholed as a grim faced victim, although this was the angle many photographers and journalists wanted."
Linda Apo & Marilyn Vierra
"The Huikahi Restorative Circle helped me go places I’ve never been before, take steps I’ve never taken."
"I wanted to go to court for justice – not revenge."
"Can I forgive him for something he denies?"
Anne Marie Hagan
"Forgiveness is recognizing that the offender is a human being who is deserving of kindness, compassion and love despite the harm they have done."
"I don't believe forgiveness is a one off act; it’s rather something that enters and leaves our consciousness like the tide and it requires working through continually."
"Through my experience and the sharing of my story, my work has helped create an alternative narrative, that we are all interconnected and interdependent."
"I think everyone has the capacity to forgive but they sometimes need help finding those inner resources."
"I do not forgive the Nazis – nor do I wish to."
Phyllis Rodriguez and Aicha el-Wafi
"Meeting Aicha gave me strength and took away my anger and bitterness."
"Through my experience I have come to believe that we are all equally capable of being the victim and the perpetrator."
"I believe with every fibre of my being that every human being has the right to live without the pain of the past."
"If we don’t understand we’re in danger of history repeating itself."
Ginn Fourie and Letlapa Mphahlele
"Vulnerable feelings, when expressed to other people, have the potential to establish lasting bonds."
"I believe that the most dangerous thing in life is to let people become convinced that truth has just one face."
"You need to work hard to achieve peace. It doesn’t just come on a platter of good. You cannot give what you don’t have."
Aqeela Sherrills and Calvin Hodges
"The more you communicate the more difficult it is to commit violence, because you’re no longer isolated or wearing a mask."
Katy Hutchison and Ryan Aldridge
"Whether victim or perpetrator, part of being human is rolling up our sleeves and taking an active part in repairing harm."
"Initially I was unable to entertain any thought of forgiveness, but slowly I came to realize that bitterness only creates bitterness."
Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix
"We believe that in every crime there is an opportunity to improve society by learning how to prevent that crime from happening again."
"Our goal is to honor Daniel with acts of hope, and not mar our memory of him with anger or hatred or despair."
"About a year before the execution I found it in my heart to forgive Tim McVeigh. It was a release for me rather than for him."
"The most difficult thing in all this is being able to forgive myself."
"My anger is entirely directed towards myself for turning my back on my son when he needed me most."
"Inside I feel terrified of what I have done and regret it deeply."
"I couldn’t sit around and wait for something to happen, so I started my own organisation – SURF."
"They gave me the resolve to not steal and to certainly not commit violence against another person ever again."
"I also recognized through this process that I was no longer a victim because my life was not contingent on what this man did."
"I’m refusing to fall in line with what 'they' want, which is visceral hatred between two sides; this gives me permission to reconcile."
"The letter he wrote back was full of compassion, and I think at that moment I lost whatever hard armour I had wrapped around me."
Joan van Blerk & Collin Ketshabile
"People think once a criminal always a criminal, but if victims choose to forgive their attackers, I believe the community should too."
"My past violent actions were very destructive, but now I’m fighting for peace in a far more constructive manner."
"The act of friendship invites forgiveness."
Ghazi Briegeith & Rami Elhanan
"I don’t forgive and I don’t forget, but when this happened to my daughter I had to ask myself whether I’d contributed in any way."
Salimata Badji Knight
"Out of rage came compassion, and the realisation that this was not my mother's fault, nor the fault of the women who had done this to me. They were simply blinded by tradition."
Violeta and Petrica Danut Chereches
"I want to have a little part of my mother. And to have that little part, I need to forgive."
Jo Berry and Pat Magee
"No matter which side of the conflict you’re on, had we all lived each other's lives, we could all have done what the other did."
"Certainly I believe in the concept of forgiveness. It is always better to give than to receive."
"My motive is love, not hate."
"Working towards forgiveness seems to be the most imaginative way of becoming free and offering freedom."
"Not to retaliate doesn’t mean you’re weak."
"I haven’t forgiven anyone, because I have no one to forgive."
"Religion doesn’t matter there. Whether it’s the mother of an IRA son, or the wife of a Loyalist paramilitary, there’s no difference."
Leatitia van Loggerenberg
"How can you ask for forgiveness from others, if you can’t forgive yourself?"
"No one has said sorry, no one has shown remorse, and no one has taken responsibility. So I do not forgive those who were responsible. Would you?"
Linda Biehl and Easy Nofemela
"I have come to believe passionately in restorative justice."
Camilla Carr & Jon James
"I tell them that I believe forgiveness begins with understanding, but you have to work through layers to obtain it."
"We live in a blame culture where people now assume that if anything goes wrong you should sue."
"I don’t deserve forgiveness, but unless you can reach that point where you feel OK, you can never fully heal and move on."
"Having been saved myself I feel I must do my best to save others."
"If you can find it in yourself to forgive then you are no longer chained to the perpetrator."
"Forgiveness was not a word I used at first, but hearing the bitterness and anger I knew I didn’t want to go down that road."
Francis & Berthe Climbié
"To be locked into a fixed attitude of retribution is to kill a child twice."
Christo Brand & Vusumzi Mcongo
"No nation can survive without forgiveness."
"When someone who has suffered extends the hand of friendship or forgiveness to someone like me, it’s hard not to be moved and inspired."
"We listen to people’s stories, but we don’t judge them. There’s healing in that."