Meekness: Wikis


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In Catholic catechism, the seven virtues refers to one of two lists of virtues, most commonly referring to the 4 Cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Restraint or Temperance, and Courage or Fortitude, and the 3 Theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love or Charity; these were adopted by the Church Fathers.

An alternative list is the Seven heavenly virtues, opposed to the Seven deadly sins, and consisting of Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility.



The seven heavenly virtues were first penned by the Greek philosophers, Aristotle and Plato. However, when they first came into being, there were not seven of them as we know them now, but four. These four initial virtues Temperance, Wisdom, Justice, and Courage were seen as the main attributes for a person to have. It was not until the New Testament began to be more extensively studied that the other three virtues of faith, hope, and charity were joined with the initial four virtues. Because of this difference of birth, the initial four virtues are widely referred to as the four Cardinal Virtues while the latter three are referred to as the three Theological virtues. In his book The Seven Cardinal Virtues Stalker mentions that. [1]

Seven heavenly virtues

There is another list of the seven virtues to oppose the seven deadly sins. The "Seven heavenly virtues" were derived from the Psychomachia ("Contest of the Soul"), an epic poem written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (c. AD 410) entailing the battle of good virtues and evil vices. The intense popularity of this work in the Middle Ages helped to spread the concept of holy virtue throughout Europe. Practicing these virtues is considered to protect one against temptation from the seven deadly sins, with each one having its counterpart. Due to this they are sometimes referred to as the contrary virtues. Each of the seven heavenly virtues matches a corresponding deadly sin.

Virtue Latin Gloss (Vice) (Latin) Virtue's Meaning
Chastity Castitas Purity, Knowledge, Honesty Lust Luxuria Abstaining from sexual conduct according to one's state in life; the practice of Courtly love and Romantic friendship. Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of thought through education and betterment. The ability to refrain from being distracted and influenced by hostility, temptation or corruption.
Temperance Temperantia Self-Control, Justice, Abstention Gluttony Gula Restraint. Temperance. Justice. Constant mindfulness of others and one's surroundings; practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation. Prudence to judge between actions with regard to appropriate actions at a given time. Proper moderation between self-interest, versus public-interest, and against the rights and needs of others.
Charity Caritas Will, Generosity, Sacrifice Greed Avaritia Generosity. Charity. Self-sacrifice. The willingness to give away wealth and material good. The energy to devote attention and personal service. The knowledge to promote wisdom and mutual prosperity. The Social Responsibility to create a strong, rich and diverse community, especially in the interests of the impoverished. A nobility of thought or actions.
Diligence Industria Persistence, Effort, Ethics Sloth Acedia


A zealous and careful nature in one's actions and work. Decisive work ethic. Steadfastness in belief. Fortitude and the capability of not giving up. Budgeting one's time; monitoring one's own activities to guard against laziness. Upholding one’s convictions at all times, especially when no one else is watching.

(The Vice "Acedia" is more commonly known as "Sloth".)

Patience Patientia Peace, Mercy, Sufferance Wrath Ira Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts and injustice peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. The ability to forgive; to show mercy to sinners. Creating a sense of peaceful stability and community, rather than engendering suffering, hostility and antagonism.
Kindness Humanitas Satisfaction, Compassion, Integrity Envy Invidia Charity, compassion and friendship for its own sake. Empathy and trust without prejudice or resentment. Unconditional love and voluntary kindness without bias or spite. Having positive outlook and cheerful demeanor; to inspire kindness in others.
Humility Humilitas Bravery, Modesty, Selflessness Pride Superbia Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. The courage of the heart necessary to undertake tasks which are difficult, tedious or unglamorous, and to graciously accept the sacrifices involved. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one's own self. Being faithful to promises, no matter how big or small they may be. Refraining from despair and the ability to confront fear and uncertainty, or intimidation.


Restraint is the keystone of the seven holy virtues. The other holy virtues are created through selfless pursuits:

  • Valour: Pursuit of Courage and Knowledge
  • Generosity: Pursuit of Giving
  • Liberality: Pursuit of Will
  • Diligence: Pursuit of Ethics
  • Patience: Pursuit of Peace
  • Kindness: Pursuit of Charity
  • Humility: Pursuit of Modesty

Popular Culture

In the Dungeons & Dragons third-edition fantasy role-playing game, the Seven deadly sins and the Seven heavenly virtues each made an appearance as the philosophical Cleric Domains, providing the option to exemplify the moral/ethical conflict of these ideals, rather then abstract ideology or tenets of a deity. They were originally featured in two separate issues of the Dragon Magazine (Issue #323 & Issue #355), but later on were collected and released in Dragon Compendium (-Volume 1-) hard-cover anniversary-edition published by Piazo Publishing.

In the video game Bayonetta, the seven virtues are the names of the primary angelic antagonists whom Bayonetta confronts and ultimately sends each one to Hell after they are nearly killed. Only four of the cardinal virtues (Temperance, Valor, Charity, and Justice) appear in the game in the forms of giant, angelic monsters however.

In the popular manga Ultimo, two forces of mechanical boys fight, featuring the 7 virtues as well as the 7 deadly sins.

See also

External links


  1. ^ " is of distinct advantage to be reminded that Christian character has a natural foundation...but certainly the latter are cardinal also--that is hinge virtues; and it is convenient to have a single adjective for designating the whole seven" (p.10).
  2. ^ The Seven Cardinal Virtues by James Stalker © 1819

Forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and/or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.[1] The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt'. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven and/or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In some contexts, forgiveness may be granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, apology, and/or restitution, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive.[1]

Most world religions include teachings on the nature of forgiveness, and many of these teachings provide an underlying basis for many varying modern day traditions and practices of forgiveness. Some religious doctrines or philosophies place greater emphasis on the need for humans to find some sort of divine forgiveness for their own shortcomings, others place greater emphasis on the need for humans to practice forgiveness of one another, yet others make little or no distinction between human and/or divine forgiveness.



Prior to the 1980s, forgiveness was a practice primarily left to matters of faith. Although there is presently no consensus psychological definition of forgiveness in the research literature, agreement has emerged that forgiveness is a process and a number of models describing the process of forgiveness have been published, including one from a radical behavioral perspective[2]

Dr. Robert Enright from the University of Wisconsin–Madison founded the International Forgiveness Institute and is considered the initiator of forgiveness studies. He developed a 20-Step Process Model of Forgiveness.[3] Recent work has focused on what kind of person is more likely to be forgiving. A longitudinal study showed that people who were generally more neurotic, angry and hostile in life were less likely to forgive another person even after a long time had passed. Specifically, these people were more likely to still avoid their transgressor and want to enact revenge upon them four and a half years after the transgression.[4]

Studies show that people who forgive are happier and healthier than those who hold resentments.[5] The first study to look at how forgiveness improves physical health discovered that when people think about forgiving an offender it leads to improved functioning in their cardiovascular and nervous systems.[6] Another study at the University of Wisconsin found the more forgiving people were, the less they suffered from a wide range of illnesses. The less forgiving people reported a greater number of health problems.[7]

Dr. Fred Luskin co-founded the Stanford University Forgiveness Project for research and training around practical forgiveness. He asserts that most grievances emerge when (1) personal offense and (2) blaming others for our feelings solidifies into (3) a "grievance story" which intrudes on quality of life. The Stanford research shows that forgiveness can be learned, largely by recognizing and abandoning "unenforceable rules" and sharing the depth of one's pain with a few trusted people. In three separate studies, including one with Catholics and Protestants from Northern Ireland whose family members were murdered in the political violence, he found that people who are taught how to forgive become less angry, feel less hurt, are more optimistic, become more forgiving in a variety of situations, and become more compassionate and self-confident. His studies show a reduction in experience of stress, physical manifestations of stress, and an increase in vitality.[8]

One study has shown that the positive benefit of forgiveness is similar whether it was based upon religious or secular counseling as opposed to a control group that received no forgiveness counseling.[9]

Forgiveness after people lie has been linked to activation of the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex.[10]

Religious/Spiritual views

Bahá'í Faith

In the Bahá'í Writings, this explanation is given of how to be forgiving towards others:

"Love the creatures for the sake of God and not for themselves. You will never become angry or impatient if you love them for the sake of God. Humanity is not perfect. There are imperfections in every human being, and you will always become unhappy if you look toward the people themselves. But if you look toward God, you will love them and be kind to them, for the world of God is the world of perfection and complete mercy. Therefore, do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness."
— `Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 92


In Buddhism, forgiveness is seen as a practice to prevent harmful thoughts from causing havoc on one’s mental well-being.[11] Buddhism recognizes that feelings of hatred and ill-will leave a lasting effect on our mind karma. Instead, Buddhism encourages the cultivation of thoughts that leave a wholesome effect. "In contemplating the law of karma, we realize that it is not a matter of seeking revenge but of practicing mettā and forgiveness, for the victimizer is, truly, the most unfortunate of all.[12] When resentments have already arisen, the Buddhist view is to calmly proceed to release them by going back to their roots. Buddhism centers on release from delusion and suffering through meditation and receiving insight into the nature of reality. Buddhism questions the reality of the passions that make forgiveness necessary as well as the reality of the objects of those passions.[13] "If we haven’t forgiven, we keep creating an identity around our pain, and that is what is reborn. That is what suffers."[14]

Buddhism places much emphasis on the concepts of Mettā (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy), and upekkhā (equanimity), as a means to avoiding resentments in the first place. These reflections are used to understand the context of suffering in the world, both our own and the suffering of others.

“He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me’ — in those who harbor such thoughts hatred will never cease.”
“He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me’ — in those who do not harbor such thoughts hatred will cease.”
(Dhammapada 1.3-4; trans. Radhakrishnan)[15]


– “The Return of the Prodigal Son]]

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of the importance of Christians forgiving or showing mercy towards others. The Parable of the Prodigal Son[16] and the Parable of the unforgiving servant are perhaps the best known instances of such teaching and practice of forgiveness.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeatedly spoke of forgiveness, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25 (NIV) “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” Luke 6:27-29 (NIV) “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36 (NIV) “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NIV)

Elsewhere, it is said, "Then Peter came and said to Him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.'" Matthew 18:21-22 (NAS)

Jesus asked for God's forgiveness of those who crucified him. "And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'" Luke 23: 34 (ESV) (Note: Some religions, such as the LDS church interpret this to be spoken toward the soldiers who nailed him to the cross, who truly did not know who Jesus was.)[17]

In his time, Jesus created controversy among the Pharisees, when he told people their sins were forgiven. "The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, 'Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'" Luke 5:21 (NIV) See Atonement in Christianity and Repentance and Biblical law in Christianity.

The Christian statement on forgiveness is best demonstrated in the Gospel message itself, namely that God the Father, chose to forgive mankind not for their own merit, but by unmerited favor. Unlike other religions, a Christian's forgiveness is given because of Christ's sacrifice, and can not be deserved by any works done by the believer.[18] Out of the basis of this forgiveness, believers are motivated to forgive all debts without recompense because of their debt Christ forgave at His own expense.


The concept of performing atonement from one's wrongdoing (Prayaschitta — Sanskrit: Penance), and asking for forgiveness is very much a part of the practice of Hinduism. Prayashitta is related to the law of Karma. Karma is a sum of all that an individual has done, is currently doing and will do. The effects of those deeds and these deeds actively create present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one's own life, and the pain in others.

Addressing Dhritarashtra, Vidura said: "There is one only defect in forgiving persons, and not another; that defect is that people take a forgiving person to be weak. That defect, however, should not be taken into consideration, for forgiveness is a great power. Forgiveness is a virtue of the weak, and an ornament of the strong. Forgiveness subdues (all) in this world; what is there that forgiveness cannot achieve? What can a wicked person do unto him who carries the sabre of forgiveness in his hand? Fire falling on the grassless ground is extinguished of itself. And unforgiving individual defiles himself with many enormities. Righteousness is the one highest good; and forgiveness is the one supreme peace; knowledge is one supreme contentment; and benevolence, one sole happiness." (From the Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva Section XXXIII, Translated by Sri Kisari Mohan Ganguli).

An even more authoritative statement about forgiveness is espoused by Krishna, who is considered to be an incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu by Hindus. Krishna said in the Gita that forgiveness is one of the characteristics of one born for a divine state. It is noteworthy that he distinguishes those good traits from those he considered to be demoniac, such as pride, self-conceit and anger (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, verse 3).

Village priests may open their temple ceremonies with the following beloved invocation:

O Lord, forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations: Thou art everywhere, but I worship you here; Thou art without form, but I worship you in these forms; Thou needest no praise, yet I offer you these prayers and salutations, Lord, forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations.


Islam teaches that God (Allah in Arabic) is 'The Most Forgiving', and is the original source of all forgiveness. Forgiveness often requires the repentance of those being forgiven. Depending on the type of wrong committed, forgiveness can come either directly from Allah, or from one's fellow man who received the wrong. In the case of divine forgiveness, the asking for divine forgiveness via repentance is important. In the case of human forgiveness, it is important to both forgive, and to be forgiven.[19]

God does not forgive idol worship (if maintained until death), and He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who idolizes any idol beside God has strayed far astray. (Qur'an 4:116)

But if he returns to God and pleads sincerely for forgiveness and abandons worshiping other than the one and only God, He will be forgiven.

The Qur'an never allows for violent behavior on the part of Muslim believers,[20] except in the cases of defending one's religion, one's life, or one's property. Outside of this, the Qur'an makes no allowances for violent behavior. From time to time certain Muslims have interpreted such Qur'anic allowances for "defensive violence" to include what other Muslims have viewed more as unwarranted and overly aggressive violence. This interpretative debate about when to forgive and when to aggressively attack or defend continues to this day within the Muslim community.

The Qur'an makes it clear that, whenever possible, it is better to forgive another than to attack another. The Qur'an describes the believers (Muslims) as those who, avoid gross sins and vice, and when angered they forgive. (Qur'an 42:37) and says that Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by GOD. He does not love the unjust. (Qur'an 42:40).

To receive forgiveness from God there are three requirements:

  1. Recognizing the offense itself and its admission before God.
  2. Making a commitment not to repeat the offense.
  3. Asking for forgiveness from God.

If the offense was committed against another human being, or against society, a fourth condition is added:

  1. Recognizing the offense before those against whom offense was committed and before God.
  2. Committing oneself not to repeat the offense.
  3. Doing whatever needs to be done to rectify the offense (within reason) and asking pardon of the offended party.
  4. Asking God for forgiveness.

There are no particular words to say for asking forgiveness. However, Muslims are taught many phrases and words to keep repeating daily asking God's forgiveness. For example:

  • Astaghfiru-Allah, "I ask forgiveness from Allah"
  • Subhanaka-Allah humma wa bi hamdika wa ash-hadu al la Ilaha illa Anta astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, "Glory be to You, Allah, and with You Praise (thanks) and I bear witness that there is no deity but You, I ask Your forgiveness and I return to You (in obedience)".

Islamic teaching presents the Prophet Muhammad as an example of someone who would forgive others for their ignorance, even those who might have once considered themselves to be his enemies. One example of Muhammad's practice of forgiveness can be found in the Hadith, the body of early Islamic literature about the life of Muhammad. This account is as follows:
The Prophet was the most forgiving person. He was ever ready to forgive his enemies. When he went to Ta’if to preach the message of Allah, its people mistreated him, abused him and hit him with stones. He left the city humiliated and wounded. When he took shelter under a tree, the angel of Allah visited him and told him that Allah sent him to destroy the people of Ta’if because of their sin of maltreating their Prophet. Muhammad prayed to Allah to save the people of Ta'if, because what they did was out of their ignorance.[21]


In Jainism, forgiveness is one of the main virtues that needs to be cultivated by the Jains. Kṣamāpanā or supreme forgiveness forms part of one of the ten characteristics of dharma.[22] In the Jain prayer, (pratikramana) Jains repeatedly seek forgiveness from various creatures—even from ekindriyas or single sensed beings like plants and microorganisms that they may have harmed while eating and doing routine activities.[23] Forgiveness is asked by uttering the phrase, Micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ. Micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ is a Prakrit language phrase literally meaning "may all the evil that has been done be fruitless."[24] During samvatsari—the last day of Jain festival paryusana—Jains utter the phrase Micchami Dukkadam after pratikraman. As a matter of ritual, they personally greet their friends and relatives micchāmi dukkaḍaṃ seeking their forgiveness. No private quarrel or dispute may be carried beyond samvatsari, and letters and telephone calls are made to the outstation friends and relatives asking their forgiveness.[25]

Pratikraman also contains the following prayer:[26]

Khāmemi savva-jīve savvë jive khamantu me /

metti me savva-bhūesu, veraṃ mejjha na keṇavi //

(I ask pardon of all creatures, may all creatures pardon me.

May I have friendship with all beings and enmity with none.)

In their daily prayers and samayika, Jains recite Iryavahi sutra seeking forgiveness from all creatures while involved in routine activities:[27]

May you, O Revered One! Voluntarily permit me. I would like to confess my sinful acts committed while walking. I honour your permission. I desire to absolve myself of the sinful acts by confessing them. I seek forgiveness from all those living beings which I may have tortured while walking, coming and going, treading on living organism, seeds, green grass, dew drops, ant hills, moss, live water, live earth, spider web and others. I seek forgiveness from all these living beings, be they — one sensed, two sensed, three sensed, four sensed or five sensed. Which I may have kicked, covered with dust, rubbed with ground, collided with other, turned upside down, tormented, frightened, shifted from one place to another or killed and deprived them of their lives. (By confessing) may I be absolved of all these sins.

Jain texts quote Māhavīra on forgiveness:[28]

By practicing prāyaṣcitta (repentance), a soul gets rid of sins, and commits no transgressions; he who correctly practises prāyaṣcitta gains the road and the reward of the road, he wins the reward of good conduct. By begging forgiveness he obtains happiness of mind; thereby he acquires a kind disposition towards all kinds of living beings; by this kind disposition he obtains purity of character and freedom from fear.

— Māhavīra in Uttarādhyayana Sūtra 29:17–18

Even the code of conduct amongst the monks requires the monks to ask forgiveness for all transgressions:[29]

If among monks or nuns occurs a quarrel or dispute or dissension, the young monk should ask forgiveness of the superior, and the superior of the young monk. They should forgive and ask forgiveness, appease and be appeased, and converse without restraint. For him who is appeased, there will be success (in control); for him who is not appeased, there will be no success; therefore one should appease one's self. 'Why has this been said, Sir? Peace is the essence of monasticism'.

Kalpa Sutra 8:59


In Judaism, if a person causes harm, but then sincerely and honestly apologizes to the wronged individual and tries to rectify the wrong, the wronged individual is religiously required to grant forgiveness:

  • "It is forbidden to be obdurate and not allow yourself to be appeased. On the contrary, one should be easily pacified and find it difficult to become angry. When asked by an offender for forgiveness, one should forgive with a sincere mind and a willing spirit. . . forgiveness is natural to the seed of Israel." (Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 2:10)

In Judaism, one must go to those he has harmed in order to be entitled to forgiveness.[30] [One who sincerely apologizes three times for a wrong committed against another has fulfilled his or her obligation to seek forgiveness. (Shulchan Aruch) OC 606:1] This means that, unlike in Christianity, in Judaism a person cannot obtain forgiveness from God for wrongs the person has done to other people. Thus the Tefila Zaka meditation, which is recited just before Yom Kippur, closes with the following:

  • "I know that there is no one so righteous that they have not wronged another, financially or physically, through deed or speech. This pains my heart within me, because wrongs between humans and their fellow are not atoned by Yom Kippur, until the wronged one is appeased. Because of this, my heart breaks within me, and my bones tremble; for even the day of death does not atone for such sins. Therefore I prostrate and beg before You, to have mercy on me, and grant me grace, compassion, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all people. For behold, I forgive with a final and resolved forgiveness anyone who has wronged me, whether in person or property, even if they slandered me, or spread falsehoods against me. So I release anyone who has injured me either in person or in property, or has committed any manner of sin that one may commit against another [except for legally enforceable business obligations, and except for someone who has deliberately harmed me because the one doing harm thinks "I can get away with harming this person because this person will forgive me"]. Except for these two, I fully and finally forgive everyone; may no one be punished because of me. And just as I forgive everyone, so may You grant me grace in the eyes of others, that they too forgive me absolutely." [emphasis added]

Thus the "reward" for forgiving others is not God's forgiveness for wrongs done to others, but rather help in obtaining forgiveness from the other person.

Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, summarized: "it is not that God forgives, while human beings do not. To the contrary, we believe that just as only God can forgive sins against God, so only human beings can forgive sins against human beings."[31]

Jews observe a Day of Atonement Yom Kippur on the day before God makes decisions regarding what will happen during the coming year.[30] Just prior to Yom Kippur, Jews will ask forgiveness of those they have wronged during the prior year (if they have not already done so).[30] During Yom Kippur itself, Jews fast and pray for God's forgiveness for the transgressions they have made against God in the prior year.[30] Sincere repentance is required, and once again, God can only forgive one for the sins one has committed against God; this is why it is necessary for Jews also to seek the forgiveness of those people who they have wronged.[30]


Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, combined with prayer. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditionally hoʻoponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaʻau among family members of a person who is physically ill. Modern versions are performed within the family by a family elder, or by the individual alone.

A Course In Miracles

According to A Course In Miracles (ACIM) forgiveness, as the means to remembering God, is/ was the fundamental message of Christ's teachings. ACIM teaches that forgiveness is not simply the letting go of resentment, but rather forgiveness is awakening to eternal “vision” and remembering that there is nothing “real” (eternal) to resent.

ACIM teaches that metaphysically there is actually nothing to forgive. "Outside of time there was a tiny mad idea that one could be separate from God," and thereby lose one’s essential goodness. In reality, one cannot. All creation is a loving and eternal thought of God. Nevertheless, our experience in time is the perception (or misperception) that there has been a separation from God. The effect of that tiny mad idea of separation is analogous to a ripple effect in a pond. The ripples of that first mistaken belief in separation spread out, creating a universe of myriad forms of separation. But God still IS, as always. Outside of time, from God’s eternal reality, came His instant answer to the thought of separation: forgiveness. Within time, this answer must be learned.

Forgiveness is the recognition, the awakening if you will, to the reality that the separation never occurred in God’s eternal reality. Forgiveness removes the blocks to seeing the eternal goodness in, and unity and equality with, one’s brother. Forgiveness removes the fog obscuring the reflection of God within others, which leads to the same sight within ourselves. Ultimately, forgiveness opens the experience that whatever is perceived to have been done in time has had no effect upon eternal oneness. All remain as God created, united in God’s eternal love—and this is God’s will.

Forgiveness recognizes what you thought your brother did to you has not occurred. It does not pardon sins and make them real. It sees there was no sin. And in that view are all your sins forgiven. What is sin, except a false idea about God's Son? Forgiveness merely sees its falsity, and therefore lets it go. What then is free to take its place is now the Will of God.[32]

As such, A Course in Miracles teaches that forgiveness is more of an act of internally letting go of resentment for perceived slights or injustices. It is not somehow pardoning what one may still perceive as the inappropriate behavior of another. It is also not somehow condoning what one may still perceive as the inappropriate behavior of another. Rather it is the shifting of one's perception about one who might otherwise be perceived as one's adversary or antagonist, and instead recognizing the true holiness, even within such a one. Thus the perceived slight or injustice cannot help but be recognized as meaningless and insignificant when seen in the light of such a true recognition. Recognition of the native goodness within another is not a denial of the capacity of another to err, but it is the recognition of another's yet even greater capacity, tendency, and even yearning to strive towards goodness.

A Course in Miracles also includes reference to The Holy Spirit, as an Appointed Friend - appointed by God to represent the memory and truth of God's infinite holiness, and thus of our own infinite holiness, given that we are extensions of God who is holy. The Holy Spirit is the part of our mind that is completely unaffected by the belief in the separation from God being real. The Holy Spirit participates in the forgiveness process whether we remember to ask for his assistance or not, and all that is required for the application of forgiveness is what ACIM terms `a little willingness`, a willingness to consider that we may be mistaken in our perception of a situation or person, or in our projections of our own guilt onto those persons. Following from our openness to being mistaken, but not guilty, we open to allow the Holy Spirit to correct our wrong thinking and undo the ego. ACIM refers to the `ego` as representing our idea of being separate from God, which is insane and impossible. Ultimately ACIM explains that every perceived offense or threat or attack seemingly perpetrated by `a separate person` is in fact simply a projection of our own attack upon ourselves, and on God, in our effort to make separation real to us. It is therefore ourselves that we forgive when we forgive another, and indeed there is no `other` for God truly has only One Son, one with him.

Having thought ourselves to have separated from God and having tried to make the separation real, we suffer profound horrific guilt which we have pushed into a part of the mind seemingly separate from our conscious mind - and thus the majority of our guilt is now unconscious. This significant portion of our mind and the force of this repression/denial is responsible for the projection of the illusion of a physical universe, of which we then seem to be just a small part within a body. The ego/illusory/insane portion of the mind is thus responsible for every upsetting scenario experienced in the world. Since ACIM recognizes that we are the cause of the illusion/dream world, nothing within the dream world is responsible for what it appears to do to us, and that indeed the world itself does not exist in reality. This principle of Atonement leads to the recognition that the separation from God has not really happened at all, and that everything we think of as an upset or a real illusion is just another fragment of the idea of being separate from God. Thus the only error to be corrected is the idea of being separate from God, achieved through removal of the blocks to love, rather than efforts to increase our lovingness. We are already pure love, in reality.

ACIM also asserts that God does not forgive because God does not recognize or acknowledge our insane idea of separation as real, and thus sees there is nothing to forgive - that all is forgiven and nothing has happened to upset the peace of God. ACIM also asserts that we are already at home with God in the Heaven of oneness with him, and when we cease all belief to the contrary we will simply remain in the peace of union with God, which is the final goal of forgiveness. Forgiveness is therefore itself an illusion, a tool for the undoing of unconscious guilt wherever it is experienced, and a tool which leads to the removal of all blocks to love. In time we thus must practice true forgiveness in order to undo the insane world we think is real. As mentioned in the book The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard, which focuses on the practical application of the forgiveness concepts in ACIM, the universe quite literally will disappear entirely when everyone, who is part of a One True Self, completes their forgiveness of its unreality.

The goal of Atonement/Forgiveness in ACIM can be summarized by its opening lines which completely describe all truth.. Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists, herein lies the peace of God.

Popular views of 'forgiveness'

Scientific polls have established that the need to forgive is widely recognized by the general population as an essential element of the healing process, however the exact means of attaining such a forgiveness is not well established. For example, in a large representative sampling of American people on various religious topics in 1988, the Gallup Organization found that 94% said it was important to forgive, but 85% said they needed some outside help to be able to forgive. However, not even regular prayer was found to be effective. The Gallup poll revealed that the only thing that was effective was "meditative prayer".[33]

As a foundation for authoritarian control

Yoga teachers Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad analyse the use of unconditional love and the associated concept of forgiveness as a foundation for authoritarian control.[34] They survey a number of religions worldwide and conclude that the imperative of forgiveness is often used by leaders to perpetrate cycles of ongoing abuse. They state that "to forgive without requiring the other to change is not only self-destructive, but ensures a dysfunctional relationship will remain so by continually rewarding mistreatment."

For instance, one Christian sect, the Anabaptists, take Christian imperatives to forgive particularly seriously, interpret them literally and apply them rigorously inside their closed churches. As such, they are a case where one can assess the effects of applying religious-based forgiveness in all situations, 'no matter what'. Not surprisingly, they have a well-deserved reputation for being gentle people but, inside their communities, rigorously obeying (Christian) religious imperatives to forgive, 'no matter what', has been reported to cause effects similar to what Kramer and Alstad theorize in their abstract analysis. Kramer and Alstad also point out similar dynamics operating in Eastern 'Oneness' religions in their wide-ranging analysis of the religious roots of authoritarian control.

Kramer and Alstad assert that of faith-based ideals of forgiveness, while appearing selfless, contain implicit selfish aspects. They state that "when forgiving contains a moral component, there is moral superiority in the act itself that can allow one to feel virtuous". They ask: "As long as one is judging the other lacking, how much letting go can there be?" They note that "Where the virtue in 'moralistic foregiving' lies is also complicated by the fact that it is often unclear who benefits more from it, the one doing the forgiving or the one being forgiven." Not surprisingly, they note "that for many people, forgiving is an area of confusion intellectually."

See also


  1. ^ a b "American Psychological Association. Forgiveness: A Sampling of Research Results.". 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  2. ^ Cordova, J., Cautilli, J., Simon, C. & Axelrod-Sabtig, R. (2006). "Behavior Analysis of Forgiveness in Couples Therapy". IJBCT, 2(2). p. Pg. 192. 
  3. ^ Dr. Robert Enright, Forgiveness is a Choice, American Psychological Association , 2001 ISBN 1-55798-757-2
  4. ^ Maltby, J., Wood, A. M., Day, L., Kon, T. W. H., Colley, A., and Linley, P. A. (2008). Personality predictors of levels of forgiveness two and a half years after the transgression. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 1088-1094.
  5. ^ "Forgiving (Campaign for Forgiveness Research)". 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  6. ^ Van Oyen, C. Witvilet, T.E. Ludwig and K. L. Vander Lann, "Granting Forgiveness or Harboring Grudges: Implications for Emotions,Physiology and Health," Psychological Science no. 12 (2001):117-23
  7. ^ S. Sarinopoulos, "Forgiveness and Physical Health: A Doctoral Dissertation Summary," World of Forgiveness no. 2 (2000): 16-18
  8. ^ Fred Luskin, Ph.D. Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness (Harper, 2002)
  9. ^ "Gregg Easterbrook: Forgiveness is Good for Your Health". 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  10. ^ Hayashi A, Abe N, Ueno A, Shigemune Y, Mori E, Tashiro M, Fujii T. (2010). Neural correlates of forgiveness for moral transgressions involving deception. Brain Res. 1332:90-99 doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2010.03.045 PMID 20307505
  11. ^ "Psychjourney – Introduction to Buddhism Series". 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  12. ^ "Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery - Universal Loving Kindness". 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  13. ^ "Spirit of Vatican II: Buddhism – Buddhism and Forgiveness". 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  14. ^ "Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery - Preparing for Death". 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  15. ^ Thanissaro Bikkhu. "Tipitaka". 
  16. ^ "The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Christianity and Buddhism". 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  17. ^ "The Gospel according to St Luke". p. Chapter 23:34. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  18. ^ "Got Forgiveness? How do I receive forgiveness from God?". Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  19. ^ "Islam online. Forgiveness: Islamic Perspective". 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  20. ^ Qur'an 9:12- "Fight ye the chiefs of the unbelievers."
  21. ^ "Pakistanlink. Forgiveness in Islam". 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07. [dead link]
  22. ^ Varni, Jinendra; Ed. Prof. Sagarmal Jain, Translated Justice T.K. Tukol and Dr. K.K. Dixit (1993). Samaṇ Suttaṁ. New Delhi: Bhagwan Mahavir memorial Samiti. verse 84
  23. ^ Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ.. ISBN 81-208-1691-9.  p. 285
  24. ^ Chapple. C.K. (2006) Jainism and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life Delhi:Motilal Banarasidas Publ. ISBN 9788120820456 p.46
  25. ^ Hastings, James (2003), Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics Part 10, Kessinger Publishing ISBN 9780766136823 p.876
  26. ^ Jaini, Padmanabh (2000). Collected Papers on Jaina Studies. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ.. ISBN 81-208-1691-9.  p.18 and 224
  27. ^ Translated from Prakrit by Nagin J. shah and Madhu Sen (1993) Concept of Pratikramana Ahmedabad: Gujarat Vidyapith pp.25–26
  28. ^ *Jacobi, Hermann (1895). (ed.) F. Max Müller. ed (in English: translated from Prakrit). The Uttarādhyayana Sūtra. Sacred Books of the East vol.45, Part 2. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. ISBN 070071538X.  Note: ISBN refers to the UK:Routledge (2001) reprint. URL is the scan version of the original 1895 reprint.
  29. ^ *Jacobi, Hermann (1884). (ed.) F. Max Müller. ed (in English: translated from Prakrit). The Kalpa Sūtra. Sacred Books of the East vol.22, Part 1. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. ISBN 070071538X.  Note: ISBN refers to the UK:Routledge (2001) reprint. URL is the scan version of the original 1884 reprint.
  30. ^ a b c d e "JewFAQ discussion of forgiveness on Yom Kippur". 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-26. 
  31. ^ "Covenant and Conversation". 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-07. [dead link]
  32. ^ "A Course in Miracles: Workbook for Students--What is Forgiveness?". 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  33. ^ Gorsuch, R. L. & Hao, J. Y. "Forgiveness: An exploratory factor analysis and its relationship to religious variables", June 1993 Review of Religious Research 34 (4) 351-363.
  34. ^ Kramer, Joel and Alstad, Diana, The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, ISBN 1-883319-00-5


  • Balancing the Scales of Justices with Forgiveness and Repentance, Randall J. Cecrle, 2007, ISBN 1-6026-6041-7
  • Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miracle, Colin Tipping, 1997, ISBN 0-9704814-1-1
  • Forgiving and Not Forgiving: Why Sometimes It's Better Not to Forgive, Jeanne Safer, 2000, ISBN 0-380-79471-3
  • Forgiveness: a Philosophical Exploration (Cambridge University Press, 2007), by Charles Griswold. ISBN 978-0-521-70351-2.
  • Hein, David. "Regrets Only: A Theology of Remorse." The Anglican 33, no. 4 (October 2004): 5-6.
  • Hein, David. "Austin Farrer on Justification and Sanctification." The Anglican Digest 49.1 (2007): 51–54.
  • Kramer, J. and Alstad D., The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, 1993, ISBN 1-883319-00-5
  • Lampert, K.(2005); Traditions of Compassion: From Religious Duty to Social Activism. Palgrave-Macmillan; ISBN 1-4039-8527-8
  • Fred Luskin, Ph.D. Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness (Harper, 2002)
  • Schmidt D. (2003); The Prayer of Revenge: Forgiveness in the Face of Injustice; ISBN 0-7814-3942-6
  • Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life, Susan Forward, 1990.
  • The Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality, and Foregiveness, Eric Lomax,

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Forgiveness article)

From Wikiquote

Quotes about forgiveness.



  • Surely it is much more generous to forgive and remember, than to forgive and forget.
    • Maria Edgeworth, "An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification"; Tales and Novels, vol. 1, p. 213.
  • I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
    But my will gets weak
    And my thoughts seem to scatter
    But I think it's about forgiveness
    Even if, even if you don't love me anymore.
  • I've been tryin' to get down to the Heart of the Matter
    Because the flesh will get weak
    And the ashes will scatter
    So I'm thinkin' about forgiveness
    Even if you don't love me anymore.
  • Always forgive your enemies — nothing annoys them so much.
    • Oscar Wilde, quoted in The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations (1958) by Fritz Heider, p. 269

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers

Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • To do evil for good is human corruption; to do good for good is civil retribution; but to do good for evil is Christian perfection. Though this be not the grace of nature, it is the nature of grace.
    • Archbishop Secker, p. 251.
  • Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge, and dares to forgive an injury.
  • By experience; by a sense of human frailty; by a perception of "the soul of goodness in things evil;" by a cheerful trust in human nature; by a strong sense of God's love; by long and disciplined realization of the atoning love of Christ; only thus can we get a free, manly, large, princely spirit of forgiveness.
  • In what a delightful communion with God does that man live who habitually seeketh love! With the same mantle thrown over him from the cross — with the same act of amnesty, by which we hope to be saved — injuries the most provoked, and transgressions the most aggravated, are covered in eternal forgetfulness.
    • Elias Lyman Magoon, p. 252.
  • Behold affronts and indignities which the world thinks it right never to pardon, which the Son of God endures with a Divine meekness! Let us cast at the feet of Jesus that false honor, that quick sense of affronts, which exaggerates every thing, and pardons nothing, and, above all, that devilish determination in resenting injuries.
  • A more glorious victory cannot be gained over another man than this, that when the injury began on his part, the kindness should begin on ours.
    • Tillotson, p. 252.
  • For still in mutual sufferance lies The secret of true living; Love scarce is love that never knows The sweetness of forgiving.
    • J. G. Whittier, p. 252.

Unsourced or mixed (needs cleanup)

  • "Assuming you're not pregnant, in jail, and there's no body in your basement, I don't think I'll mind." - Alex Keyes
  • "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future" - Paul Boese
  • "Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is again made clean." - Dag Hammarskjold
  • "Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it" - Mark Twain
  • "Forgiveness is the last resort, after victory seems impossible, or trivial" - Anonymous
  • "He who forgives ends the quarrel." - Anonymous
  • "If one knows thee not or a blind man scolds thee, do not become angry." - Anonymous (claimed to be an African proverb by The Journal of Negro History, Vol. I. Jan. 1916[1])
  • "Parents may forgive their child anything, but life won't." - Leonid S. Sukhorukov, All About Everything (2005)
  • "To understand is not only to pardon, but in the end to love." - Walter Lippmann
  • Revenge is the most sincere form of forgiveness. - Italian Proverb.
  • "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." - Mahatma Gandhi


  • “He abused me, he struck me, he overcame me, he robbed me’ -- in those who do not harbor such thoughts hatred will cease.” (Dhammapada 1.3-4; trans. w:Radhakrishnan)
  • "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." - Buddha
  • “Take forgiveness. Two levels here. One level: forgiveness means you shouldn’t develop feelings of revenge. Because revenge harms the other person, therefore it is a form of violence. With violence, there is usually counterviolence. This generates even more violence—the problem never goes away. So that is one level. Another level: forgiveness means you should try not to develop feelings of anger toward your enemy. Anger doesn’t solve the problem. Anger only brings uncomfortable feelings to yourself. Anger destroys your own peace of mind. Your happy mood never comes, not while anger remains. I think that’s the main reason why we should forgive. With calm mind, more peaceful mind, more healthy body. An agitated mind spoils our health, very harmful for body. This is my feeling.”[1] (Quoting the Dalai Lama)


Biblical texts

Key Biblical texts on the subject of forgiveness include (here quoted from the w:New International Version):

  • "Again Jesus said [to the disciples], "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:21-23)
  • "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." (w:Matthew 6:12)
  • "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you." (w:Matthew 6:14).
  • "Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us." (Luke 11:4)
  • "Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven).'" (Matthew 18:21-22)
  • "In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:34-35)
  • "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (Mark 11:25)
  • "Forgive, and you will be forgiven." (Luke 6:37)
  • "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." (Luke 17:3)
  • "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
  • "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'" (Luke 23:34)

Other quotes related to Christianity

Among the Protestant Reformers, John Wesley stated that forgiveness is an "...act of God the Father, hereby, for the sake of the propitiation made by the blood of his Son, he 'showeth forth his righteousness (or mercy)...'". 1 2.

  • "That he that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man had need to be forgiven."
  • "The brave only know how to forgive."
  • 'The gospel comes to the sinner at once with nothing short of complete forgiveness as the starting-point of all his efforts to be holy. It does not say, "Go and sin no more, and I will not condemn thee." It says at once, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more."'
  • Meekness is the grace which, from beneath God's footstool, lifts up a candid and confiding eye, accepting God's smile of Fatherly affection, and adoring those perfections which it cannot comprehend.
    • James Hamilton, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 407.
  • "Life, that ever needs forgiveness, has, for its first duty, to forgive."
    • Lytton
  • "Alas! if my best Friend, who laid down His life for me, were to remember all the instances in which I have neglected Him, and to plead them against me in judgment, where should I hide my guilty head in the day of recompense? I will pray, therefore, for blessings on my friends, even though they cease to be so, and upon my enemies, though they continue such."
    • Cowper
  • "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us."
    • The Lord's Prayer
  • "God's way of forgiving is thorough and hearty,—both to forgive and to forget; and if thine be not so, thou hast no portion of His."
    • Leighton


Verses from the Qur'an

  • Indeed! God does not forgive the sin of ascribing partners to Him, but He forgives anything else to whom He pleases, and whoever takes partners with God has gone astray into far error. Qur'an 4:116
  • The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah. Qur'an 42:40
  • O You who believe! Behold, among your spouses and your children are enemies unto you: so beware of them! But if you pardon [their faults], and forbear, and forgive- then, behold, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Qur'an 64:14

Traditions of the Prophet

  • Abu Kabsha 'Ameri reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
… and no man pardons an oppression seeking thereby the pleasure of Allah but Allah will increase his honor therewith on the Day of Resurrection ..
  • Oqbah Ibn 'Amer reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
you shall keep relationship with one who cut it off from you, you shall give one who disappointed you, and you shall pardon on who oppressed you
  • Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah said:
Moses son of 'Imran had asked: O my Lord! Who is the best honorable of Thy servants to Thee? He [the God] said: He who pardons when he is in a position of power.
  • Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud reported that the Messenger of Allah taught his followers:
Narrating the account of one of the prophets [of Allah] whom was assaulted and wounded by his people; while wiping the blood from the face he prayed: 'O Allah! Forgive my people because they do not know.'


  • “It is forbidden to be obdurate and not allow yourself to be appeased. On the contrary, one should be easily pacified and find it difficult to become angry. When asked by an offender for forgiveness, one should forgive with a sincere mind and a willing spirit. . . forgiveness is natural to the seed of Israel. (w:Mishneh Torah, w:Teshuvah 2:10)
  • If one who has been wronged by another does not wish to rebuke or speak to the offender – because the offender is simple or confused – then if he sincerely forgives him, neither bearing him ill-will nor administering a reprimand, he acts according to the standard of the pious. (Deot 6:9)
  • Who takes vengeance or bears a grudge acts like one who, having cut one hand while handling a knife, avenges himself by stabbing the other hand. (w:Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9.4)

Notes and references

  1. The Dalai Lama and Victor Chan, The Wisdom of Forgiveness, Riverhead Books 2004, p. 234-35 ISBN 1-57322-277-1
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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

a calm temper of mind, not easily provoked (James 3:13). Peculiar promises are made to the meek (Mt 5:5; Isa 66:2). The cultivation of this spirit is enjoined (Col 3:12; 1 Tim 6:11; Zeph 2:3), and is exemplified in Christ (Mt 11:29), Abraham (Gen. 13; 16:5, 6) Moses (Num 12:3), David (Zech 12:8; 2 Sam 16:10, 12), and Paul (1Cor 9:19).

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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