Forgiveness, depending on individual tolerance and level of wrong-doing, comes easier for some than it does for others. However, it is difficult to find a more selfless, modern-day message of forgiveness than that of Nelson Mandela’s life story. After being imprisoned in South Africa for 27 years, simply for his protest of Apartheid, one might expect that he would hold at least a small grudge. But, as he so eloquently said himself, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Nelson Mandela’s quotes on forgiveness inspire many people to follow in his footsteps of compassion.
9 Inspiring Nelson Mandela Quotes on Forgiveness
- “In my country, we go to prison first and then become President.” – Long Walk to Freedom (1995)
- “We must strive to be moved by a generosity of spirit that will enable us to outgrow the hatred and conflicts of the past.” – 1990 Christmas Message
- “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”
- “It never hurts to think too highly of a person; often they become ennobled and act better because of it.”
- “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
- “Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.”
- “Reconciliation does not mean forgetting or trying to bury the pain of conflict, but that reconciliation means working together to correct the legacy of past injustice.” – From a 1995 speech
- “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” – Written during 27-year imprisonment
- “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. They must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Long Walk to Freedom (1995)
These nine Nelson Mandela quotes on forgiveness help give a better understanding of the power that lies in forgiving. One consistent trend throughout these Nelson Mandela quotes on forgiveness – and in life itself – is that forgiveness provides a sense of freedom. Often, the verbal and physical abuse that discriminators throw at marginalized groups serves as an emotional shackle. Forgiving the wrong-doer and learning from the experience can help lift the internal weight on one’s soul. Mandela emphasizes how forgiveness can be such a respectable and responsible approach to take when dealing with hate and injustice.
– Fatemeh Zahra Yarali