The November 2005 Edition of Street Spirit

A publication of the American Friends Service Committee


National AFSC AFSC Economic Justice BOSS Website



In this issue:

AFSC Honors War Resisters

David Harris: A Stirring Call to Conscience

Leonard McNeil: Resisting 'Rich Man's Wars'

Karen Meredith: A Mother's Plea for Peace

Not One More Death, Not One More Dollar

Massive Police Sweeps in Contra Costa County

Housing First for Poor Families

Landlords Sue to End Just Cause

Struggle to Save the Free Box

YEAH! Shelters Homeless Youth

Gentrification in Berkeley

New Home for East Bay Law Center for Poor

Wal-Mart Pushes Philanthrophy

Sutter Health's War Against Health Workers

Growing Gulf Between Rich and Poor

Inequality in America

Poor Leonard's Almanack: On Forgiveness


October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005

May 2005

April 2005

March 2005

February 2005





Street Spirit is published by American Friends Service Committee.

All works are copyrighted by the authors.

The views expressed in Street Spirit are those of the individual authors alone, and not necessarily that of the American Friends Service Committee.

Poor Leonard's Almanack

Quotations and Original Thoughts
by Leonard Roy Frank
Street Spirit November 2005

On Forgiveness

1. [The world] loves to pardon if pardon is not demanded as a right.
HENRY ADAMS (writer), The Education of Henry Adams, 1907

2. Life has taught me to forgive much, but to seek forgiveness still more.
OTTO von BISMARCK (German chancellor), inscribed in the autograph album of Count Enzenberg, 1875?

3. Mutual Forgiveness of each Vice,
Such are the Gates of Paradise.
WILLIAM BLAKE (English poet), prologue to For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise, 1793

4. Forgiveness. The experience of reconciliation following upon some breach of trust, marked on the one side by the acknowledgment of wrongdoing and the desire to make amends and on the other side by the capacity to understand and the willingness to resume friendly relations.
ANTON T. BOISEN (minister), appendix to The Exploration of the Inner World: A Study of Mental Disorder and Religious Experience, 1936

5. To understand is to forgive, even oneself.
ALEXANDER CHASE, Perspectives, 1966, quoted in Rhoda Thomas Tripp, editor, The International Thesaurus of Quotations, 1970.

6. There is nothing that people bear more impatiently, or forgive less, than contempt; and an injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.
LORD CHESTERFIELD (English political leader and letter-writer), letter to his son, 9 October 1746

7. Of God we ask one favor,
That we may be forgiven --
For what, he is presumed to know --
The Crime, from us, is hidden --
EMILY DICKINSON (poet), "Of God we ask one favor," 1884?

8. Father Zossima: There is no sin and there can be no sin on all the earth, which the Lord will not forgive to the truly repentant! Man cannot commit a sin so great as to exhaust the infinite love of God.
FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY (Russian writer), The Brothers Karamazov, 1880, translated by Constance Garnett, 1912

9. Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could?
BOB DYLAN, "Masters of War" (song), 1963

10. Surely it is much more generous to forgive and remember, than to forgive and forget.
MARIA EDGEWORTH (British writer and educator), "An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification," Letters for Literary Ladies, 1795

11. Forgiveness is better than revenge; for forgiveness is the sign of a gentle nature, but revenge the sign of a savage nature.
EPICTETUS (Greek emancipated slave and philosopher, 2nd cent. A.D.), fragment, translated by George Long, 1890?

12. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
ST. FRANCIS of ASSISI (13th cent. A.D.), "The Prayer of St. Francis," translated by Leo Sherley-Price

13. The supreme sin is not to be able to forgive yourself.
WALDO FRANK (writer, 1889-1967), quoted in Lewis Mumford's introduction to Memoirs of Waldo Frank, edited by Alan Trachtenberg, 1973

14. Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee
And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.
ROBERT FROST (poet), "Cluster of Faith," In the Clearing, 1962

15. Society can overlook murder, adultery or swindling; it never forgives the preaching of a new gospel.
FREDERIC HARRISON (English philosopher), quoted in Upton Sinclair, editor, The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest, 1915

16. God will forgive me; it's His trade.
HEINRICH HEINE (German poet and writer), among his last words, 17 February 1856, quoted in Alfred Meissner, Heinrich Heine. Erinnerungen, 1856

17. To know all is to forgive all.
ELBERT HUBBARD (writer and editor), A Thousand and One Epigrams, 1911

18. If you haven't forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?
DOLORES HUERTA (Farmworker and union organizer), quoted in Barbara L. Baer, "Stopping Traffic: One Woman’s Cause," Progressive, September 1975

19. Ministers ask: Is it possible for God to forgive man? And when I think of what has been suffered -- of the centuries of agony and tears, I ask: Is it possible for man to forgive God?
ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (lawyer and lecturer, 1833-1899), "The Foundations of Faith"

20. Come now, let us reason together,
says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
ISAIAH (8th cent. B.C), Isaiah 1:18

21. If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
JESUS, Matthew 6:14-15

22. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, "I repent," you must forgive him.
JESUS, Luke 17:3-4. Follow-up: "Then Peter came up and said to him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you seven times, but 70 times seven.' " Matthew 18:21-22

23. Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
JESUS, Luke 23:34

24. One night I demanded of God, "Lord, when are You going to pardon Lucifer?" and God answered, "When he pardons me."
NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS (Greek writer, 1885-1957), epilogue to Report to Greco, 1961, translated by P. A. Bien, 1965

25. He who forgiveth, and is reconciled unto his enemy, shall receive his reward from God.
KORAN (Islamic Scriptures), Sura 42

26. God may forgive you your sins, but your nervous system won't.
ALFRED KORZYBSKI (Polish-born U.S. semanticist, 1879-1950), quoted in Maurice B. Strauss, editor, Familiar Medical Quotations, 1968

27. We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those who find us boring.
LA ROCHEFOUCAULD (French writer), Maxims, 1665, translated by Louis Kronenberger, 1959

28. We forgive to the extent that we love.

29. Forgiveness needs to be accepted, as well as offered, before it is complete.
C. S. LEWIS (British writer), The Problem of Pain, 1940

30. I am a patient man -- always willing to forgive on the Christian terms of repentance, and also to give ample time for repentance.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, letter to Reverdy Johnson, 26 July 1862

31. When a man is sincerely penitent for his misdeeds, and gives satisfactory evidence of the same, he can safely be pardoned, and there is no exception to the rule.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, referring to the Amnesty Proclamation, remark to a White House visitor, 30 April 1864, quoted in F. B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House with Abraham Lincoln, 1866

32. To understand is not only to pardon, but in the end to love.
WALTER LIPPMANN (journalist), A Preface to Morals, 1929

33. God forgives, but [not without] repentance.
MUHAMMAD (570?-632 A.D.), The Sayings of Muhammad, trans. by Abdullah Al-Suhrawardy, 1941

34. To err is human; to forgive, divine.
ALEXANDER POPE (English poet), An Essay on Criticism, 1711

35. For thou, O Lord, art good and forgiving, Abounding in steadfast love to all who call on thee.

36. The American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity.
WILL ROGERS (humorist), "Another Hot Confession in the Oil Scandal," The Illiterate Digest, 1924

37. The folly which we might have ourselves committed is the one which we are least ready to pardon in another.
JOSEPH ROUX (French priest and writer), Meditations of a Parish Priest, translated by Isabel F. Hapgood, 1886

38. If I do not forgive everyone, I shall be untrue to myself.
ALBERT SCHWEITZER (German physician and theologian), "Your Second Job," Reader's Digest, October 1949

39. You had best be quick, if you are ever going to forgive me at all; life does not last forever.
MURASAKI SHIKIBU (Japanese poet and writer, 11th cent. A.D.), "The Sacred Tree," The Tale of the Genji, translated by Arthur Waley, 1933

40. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
LEWIS B. SMEDES (philosopher), "Forgiveness -- The Power to Change the Past," Christianity Today, 7 January 1983

41. Forgive us all our trespasses,
Little creatures, everywhere!
JAMES STEPHENS (Irish poet and writer, 1882-1950), "Little Things"

42. God forgives sins committed against Him, but offenses against man must be forgiven by the injured person.
TALMUD (rabbinical writings, 1st-6th cent. A.D.)

43. No Future Without Forgiveness.
BISHOP DESMOND TUTU (South African clergyman), book title, 1999

44. Lead us not into the temptation of believing that we have truly forgiven, while rancor lingers.
KATHERINE ZELL (German reformer), "Den Psalmen Misere," 1558

45. Forgiving the unrepentant is like drawing pictures on water.

46. Just about the only unforgivable sin, these days, is failure.

47. Even forgiven transgressions have their consequences.

48. Faults are easier to forgive than virtues; enemies are easier to forgive than friends.

49. No forgiveness without repentance, restitution, and reconciliation.

50. God needs our forgiveness no less than we need His.


Leonard Roy Frank is the editor of Random House Webster's Quotationary (20,000-plus quotes on 1,000-plus subjects). His "Frankly Quoted" column, distributed freely over the Internet every month, consists of 30-35 quotes and original thoughts, mostly about current events. To get on the "Frankly Quoted" listserve, send your e-mail address.

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