Forgiveness is the act of forgiving; the pardon of an offender, by which he is considered and treated as not guilty; the forgiveness of enemies is a christian duty; the pardon or remission of an offense or crime; as the forgiveness of sin or of injuries; the disposition to pardon; willingness to forgive; the remission of a debt, fine or penalty.
  To forgive is to pardon; to remit, as an offense or debt; to overlook an offense, and treat the offender as not guilty." But by an easy transition, we also use the phrase, to forgive the person offending. As savages never forget a favor, so they never forgive an injury. Clearly, to forgive is the act of any true follower of the moral and ethical principles as taught by Jesus Christ.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Synonyms for forgiveness include amnesty, pardon, absolution, remission, acquittal, remittal, leniency, exculpation, clemency, mercy, reprieve.

“Leave no debt unforgiven.”—Edna Lister

Forgiveness is an absolute and an abstract principle that operates as balance under the absolute principle of equilibrium. Forgiveness is a law of being and a law of doing, under the principles of mercy and Love. Forgiveness is a virtue. Forgiveness requires giving something for the offense, to balance it. The Christed way is to give love for whatever the wrong.

Edna Lister on Forgiveness

Under the law of forgiveness, a vicious circle is broken, and only the evil is destroyed.—Edna Lister, The Lord’s Prayer, September 26, 1934.

Forgiveness means to give love for what your brother has against you. No past is too dark to be forgiven.—Edna Lister, The High Call, January 2, 1935.

Forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors. How have you forgiven, grudgingly or lavishly? The tone of your prayers must reflect the as we have forgiven.—Edna Lister, The Lord’s Prayer, October 13, 1935.

Leave no debt unforgiven.—Edna Lister, November 27, 1938.

Accept the precious pearl of experience in each life episode. Discard no pearl in your haste to forget hurt, sorrow, grief, burden or darkness before you have forgiven all your debtors.—Edna Lister, June 30, 1944.

Love enough will forgive, give love for anything or anyone.—Edna Lister, October 16, 1944.

Forgive us our debts as we have forgiven our own debtors. Use this statement in deep, seeking love, to uncover any debts buried deep in your subconscious mind, which you are unconsciously holding against anyone. This is your key to ascension, your ladder to God’s Power and life. If you still hold a debt against another person, a nation, or even a political administration, you are holding yourself in chains of bondage.—Edna Lister, October 30, 1944.

The curse is to forgive your self too easily. Then, you are merely excusing the self.—Edna Lister, October 12, 1945.

Forgiveness is a responsibility of the Priest Degree: I have forgiven all men. I have begged forgiveness of my soul.—Edna Lister, September 10, 1946.

Forgiving is giving joy in return for whatever people hand you.—Edna Lister, June 12, 1947.

Merely to pray for absolution of sin is self-indulgence. You do not pray to be made clean. You clean up your own mess and pray to be cleansed, but do not spend all your time in heaven on this.—Edna Lister, July 29, 1947.

You must be certain that you are free of resentment. If you remember anything against another, then you are unforgiving. To forgive is to forget.—Edna Lister, March 18, 1949.

If, after having forgiven your enemies ten times, you still feel you are bearing a heavy cross, then your forgiveness is incomplete. You must love your enemies until your cross becomes a burden of Light.—Edna Lister, The Golden Chalice, September 21, 1952.

People must misuse all their soul substance before they forfeit the opportunity to be forgiven.—Edna Lister, The Living Chalice, December 7, 1952.

Forgiveness has three steps: 1. I forgive, which is a self-love. 2. Father, forgive them. 3. Father, forgive me.—Edna Lister, December 8, 1952.

Forgiveness has three stages. First, I’ll forgive her, but she had better not do it again. Second is Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. Third is Father, forgive me lest I cause my brother to stumble. Forgiveness is not an easy practice.
  Declare, Father, let me walk on this line of Light and never cause my brother to stumble. Others will never see you doing this or know you have declared it. As you ascend in consciousness, ice melts to water, and you reach the vapor stage of walking on water, living above the drag of the emotional life.—Edna Lister, May 29, 1953.

All life operates under the law of forgiveness. To forgive means to give for. It is your privilege to choose what you give. Jesus forgave sins. So must you. Forgiveness means to forgive your special type of sinner, all those to whom you have charged your special debts of blame.—Edna Lister, Gifts and Giving, June 14, 1953.

When you have forgiven the past and ask God to forgive you for being so dumb all your life, you will forget, and that is forgiveness.—Edna Lister, November 1953.

You can’t wipe out the debt by simply saying, "I forgive you," but must cover it with love. That is the law.—Edna Lister, From Surrender to Ascension, January 15, 1954.

Forgiveness is an aspect of charity that you must work to express. Forgiveness is not the offender’s obligation, but the offended one’s, and he is responsible to do all the forgiving. Forgiveness is the ability to come up over life’s darkness, to face it, overlook it, and to give something in exchange for the offense. If you can blame anyone on earth for a single thing, you don’t have charity, but an unforgiving attitude. If you can remember it, you haven’t completely forgiven it.—Edna Lister, Jesus, the Teacher, October 3, 1954.

Forgiveness is the mantle of Messiahship that shrinks or expands according to your consciousness.—Edna Lister, November 15, 1954.

Love, give, forgive and your good comes. Never reach to take your good, let it come to you.—Edna Lister, June 2, 1955.

The greatest of all laws is forgiveness, which is a state of continually giving love. To forgive and live by that law means never to blame anyone for anything.—Edna Lister, November 14, 1955.

To forget is to forgive, and forgiving is true forgetting. There is no other way. Evil feeds on un-forgive-ness and un-forget-ness, the un- being soul blindness in both, and -ness being a state of consciousness.—Edna Lister, Let Go and Let God, January 8, 1956.

As you forgive, you open a channel as large as your ability to forgive. God washes as many pages clean as the soap and water of your forgiveness reaches.—Edna Lister, March 4, 1956.

From the first creature standing upright on its feet, from the first breath of aspiration toward something greater than the self to worship, to the fulfilling Creator, we must all obey the law of forgiveness.
  The golden rule, Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, is a law of forgiveness that applies to the greatest and smallest of life’s affairs. No one may disobey the golden rule, except creatures. At all other levels, to forgive means to give love for, to forget, to get love for. Use the law of forgiveness to ascend to the Kingdom of Love.—Edna Lister, An Ambassador of Love, July 5, 1956.

You must forgive your enemies until you know you have no enemies anywhere. You begin to forgive yourself only when you forget the enemy idea completely.—Edna Lister, An Ambassador of Love, July 5, 1956.

Forgiveness means to give for, to give Light for darkness, good for evil and love for hatred.—Edna Lister, Prove Thy Works, September 16, 1956.

Forgive the past. Look to the future.—Edna Lister, November 26, 1956.

You can ask God to forgive you or another, and He does. Yet if you recreate the mess by thinking or speaking about it, you pull the problem back into form again.—Edna Lister, God Is a Gentleman, September 29, 1957.

Asking another to admit wrong is pure selfishness. You are not forgiving the offense, real or imagined, but still holding resentment.—Edna Lister, January 12, 1958.

If you really forgive, you forget the offense. The Light pours through and dissolves the memory of the hurt. When you give enough Light, you get relief for it (for-get).—Edna Lister, August 28, 1958.

The law of forgiveness, which is to give something for, is your outer expression of nonresistance, the greatest universal principle of Power. The law of forgiveness is loving the life sparks.—Edna Lister, November 6, 1958.

When people call you names, tell them they are wonderful and you love them. The Father will make it perfect. When you have forgiven seventy times seven, you either are crazy or have developed the forgiveness habit.—Edna Lister, May 14, 1959.

Reach out, gather your yesterdays and forgive them; cleanse them with love. Forgive yourself and stop dragging the past into the future.—Edna Lister, Tomorrow Is Yours, December 13, 1959.

Forgiveness requires that you give up your resentment against others.—Edna Lister, January 28, 1960.

Forgiveness of sins does not mean that God pays your debts, but that God extends you enough Love-Substance on credit to pay your gravity debts to Light.—Edna Lister, How Can I Apply Law to My Life? June 7, 1960.

You receive to grow and learn under the law of expansion. You open, receive love and expand under the love of family and friends. Forgiveness is the greatest factor you can have under expansion. The secondary law of forgiveness is to give love for, or in exchange for whatever comes to you. You must give to receive. Peter asked Jesus, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Jesus told him seventy times seven! Give love for everything. You must give to receive.—Edna Lister, How Can I Apply Law to My Life? June 7, 1960.

Jesus taught that if we forgive the debts others owe us, the Father will forgive our debts. Yet pouring love on everyone is the crucial step. Imagine that you are Christed, and live as the Christ would live. If you cannot bring yourself to declare that Light absorbs the past, you have not forgiven your debtors.
  What you have freed on earth, you have freed in heaven. Debts blossom when you just want someone else to pay them. Father, forgive me is the prescription. God cannot forgive you if you still charge a debt of blame or guilt to yourself or to others.—Edna Lister, The Ladder of Faith, December 18, 1960.

You cannot forgive another until you forgive yourself. If personality stands between you and the Father, you are blind. The last thing forgiven is where you have criticized unjustly.—Edna Lister, June 12, 1961.

If someone annoys you, forgive him seventy times seven. To forgive is to give something for the annoyance. Give love!—Edna Lister, The Twelve Wheels of Ezekiel, December 5, 1961.

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.—Luke 23:34 was all the world could take for 2,000 years. Now we say, Father, forgive me for doing anything that causes my brother to stumble. Jesus could give only the first grades of school; we now see the intermediate and advanced grades beyond. You do not unfold the highest Source meaning when you just repeat the words he spoke.—Edna Lister, June 7, 1962.

Forgiveness is to give love for, which lifts punishment from the offender and restores him to his place.—Edna Lister, November 15, 1962.

—Edna Lister, Power to Transform, December 4, 1962.

Scores of saintly people will not forgive God. If you’ve ever thought God could have made your life easier or if you resent circumstances or events, you have not forgiven God, but blame Him.—Edna Lister, Power to Transform, December 4, 1962.

The world misunderstands forgiveness. Forgiveness is a state of being. Forgiveness is ascension to a point high enough to see the other fellow’s block. To forgive is to ascend to your soul vision. The curse is to forgive your self too easily.—Edna Lister, January 10, 1963.

Selflessness lives in a state of forgiveness.—Edna Lister, July 16, 1963.

The law of forgiveness is the outer expression of the great principle of nonresistance. When you live under the law of forgiveness, you learn to forgive seventy times seven.—Edna Lister, Healing Through Forgiveness, November 24, 1963.

If you forgive grudgingly, you still blame.—Edna Lister, December 16, 1963.

The law of forgiveness is life eternal. It means to give love for. Peter asked Jesus how often he had to forgive. Jesus replied, seventy times seven. The beauty is that if you have forgiven seventy times seven, you see only Light and not the offense. Yet self feels that escaping is so much easier than forgiving. Forgiveness is looking at God’s Light, life and glory so that the spiritual body can be an open channel to heal the physical.—Edna Lister, Decree and Establish, June 26, 1966.

Go to the altar nightly, ask forgiveness and fill any hole left above by your misdeeds.—Edna Lister, October 20, 1966.

Forgiveness of self seventy times seven is giving love for the offense.—Edna Lister, October 26, 1966.

Forgiveness has three stages. The first is, I’ll forgive him, but he better not do it again. The second is, Father, forgive him, for he knows not what he does. In both these stages, you blame and pay half the debt. The third stage of forgiveness is, Father, forgive me for seeing, hearing, or speaking an evil. You touch the fringe of Oversoul, then Power will move through you to heal.—Edna Lister, The Crown, June 15, 1969.

Most people think they are forgiving, and in the same breath will say what they have forgiven, proving they have not forgiven anything. As Light goes forth, it consumes the past until you no longer remember what there was to forgive. If you are hurt or resent, you have not forgiven.—Edna Lister, 1,000 Burnt Offerings, November 23, 1969.

When you forgive, it is as though "it never happened" because Light has wiped it clean.—Edna Lister, November 24, 1969.

To forgive is to give for. Your effort of love, the quality of your belief in love governs your giving. You may not have any idea of the past; you must forgive first. Your mind must be cleansed to the point of being unable to remember the past.—Edna Lister, The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, December 13, 1970.

I repent does not count when you have not forgiven.—Edna Lister, December 14, 1970.

Top ↑

A Treatment for Forgiveness

Forgive, and you will be forgiven.—Luke 6:37
I AM now filled with a complete sense of God’s forgiveness.
I AM now radiating this sense of forgiveness continuously.
I AM now forgiving the whole world.
I AM now forgiving myself for all past negative thinking.
I AM now forgiving myself for all unlikeness to God.
I AM now forgiving others as God has forgiven me.
I AM now knowing that God has forgiven me for all past unlikeness to Him.
I AM now filled with desire to forgive all men.
I AM now faithful to the idea of giving something up to receive something greater.
I AM now able, by the power of forgiveness, to release my whole life from all bondage to the past.—Edna Lister, Lecture outline, 1931.

Top ↑

The Three Stages of Forgiveness

When a disciple asked Jesus how often he must forgive, the answer (Matthew 18:22) ringing down through the ages was, "until seventy times seven" and seven times a day if needed. Seventy times seven is four hundred and ninety times. Now, forgiving someone four hundred and ninety times in a day should just about establish you in the habit of forgiveness. The idea is to reach the point where the soul reigns and cannot be bothered to notice little annoyances.

Only by thoroughly understanding the law of forgiveness can you learn to agree quickly with all adversaries. If you can remember the offense, you have not forgiven. When you pour enough compassionate Love upon the adversary, you forget the offense. Only then is your forgiveness complete and so recorded on your heavenly balance sheet. As long as you can recall the offense, you are forgiving only an inch at a time. Ascension lifts you out of forgiveness as an inch-by-inch slow process into becoming the law of forgiveness as instantaneous action.

You pass through three definite stages while learning the law of forgiveness, which includes full "for-get-ness." To regain full use of all your own memory cells for worthwhile thoughts, you must cleanse them of all old material, holding only those thoughts that will pay you dividends.

The first stage of forgiveness begins when you learn to say, "Father, I forgive him, but he’d better not impose on me again" or "treat me that way again." You feel very proud of yourself, and magnanimous about your ability to forgive. You take your ability out at times and examine it among friends: "I forgave him." This is not perfect forgiveness, however you are learning law, for there was a time when you did not think it necessary to forgive a wrong.

You eventually reach the second stage of forgiveness when you say, "Father, You forgive him, for he knows not what he is doing to me!" The attitude of forgiveness is still selfish, but the law has you well hooked. You are growing in grace and understanding because you have learned that only the Father can do the forgiving. Once you reach this stage, you can never repudiate the fact that you have made a Covenant with God, and "Father, forgive them" is your signature on that covenant. Once you have signed this Covenant, you are sealed by Oneness with the Father and your own Christed consciousness, which dictates the Covenant must rule your life forever.

You must pass many tests during the step into the third stage of forgiveness, where you have given up enough self to say, "Father, forgive me, lest I cause my brother to stumble." This brings you into a full Covenant with God where you stand in your garden of love clothed with an inner robe of love and an outer garment of joy, which makes you invisible to enemies of God.

Forgiveness renders you immune to all earthly ills so long as you hold fast to your high vision. The floodgates of the River of Life open wide and the rush of heavenly waters illumines and thrills us! The fullness of the Power of the living God now possesses you.—Edna Lister, Five Keys of the Kingdom, 1964.

Top ↑

The Paralytic’s Sins Forgiven: Behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.—Matthew 9:2-8.

Love Earns Forgiveness of Sins: And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.—Luke 7:40-48.

Top ↑

New Testament Laws on Forgiveness

If if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.—Matthew 6:14-15.

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.—Matthew 9:6.

If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.—Matthew 18:15-17.

When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.—Mark 11:25-26.

Behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.—Luke 5:18-25.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.—Luke 6:37.

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.—John 20:23.

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.—Luke 17:3-4.

Forgive [from your heart] up to seventy times seven.—See Matthew 18:22 and Matthew 18:35.

One whose sins are many is forgiven, if he loves much; to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.—See Luke 7:47.

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.—Luke 23:34.

Top ↑

Old Testament on Forgiveness

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.—Psalm 32:1-2.

Top ↑

Forgiveness in Other Sacred Writings

Forgive your neighbor the hurt that he has done you, so shall your sins also be forgiven when you pray.—Wisdom of Ben Sirach 28:2.

The Father trades forgiveness for our deficiency in Light.—The Gospel of Truth, Codex I, 3 and XII, 2.

Whoever blasphemes against the Father will be forgiven, and whoever blasphemes against the Son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven.—Gospel of Thomas, Codex II, 2.

Top ↑

Unforgivable Blasphemy

All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man [personality], it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost [principle], it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.—Matthew 12:31-32.

All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.—Mark 3:28-29.

Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.word against the Son of man [personality], it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost [principle] it shall not be forgiven.—Luke 12:10.

Top ↑

Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of forgive: Old English forgiefan, "to give, give up, leave off (anger), remit, forgive."

Forgiveness is an absolute principle.

Forgiveness is an abstract principle.

Forgiveness is a law of being.

Forgiveness is a law of doing.

Forgiveness is a soul virtue.


The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.—William Blake

Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join;
To err is human, to forgive divine.—Alexander Pope


Blake, William. Jerusalem, The Poetical Works of William Blake. John Sampson, editor. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1908.

The Oxford English Dictionary, Compact Edition: 2 volumes. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Nag Hammadi Library. James M. Robinson, editor. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Pope, Alexander. "An Essay on Criticism," The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope, Part II, lines 324-325, Bliss Perry, editor. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1902, p. 74.

Webster, Noah. "Forgive," "Forgiveness" Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

Related Topic


Patience and Forgiveness: Edna Lister sermon outline; April 15, 1934.

Your Brother’s Keeper: Edna Lister sermon outline; November 3, 1935.

Gates of Gold: Edna Lister sermon outline; March 22, 1942.

Forgiveness: The Path of Glory: Edna Lister sermon transcript; October 21, 1951.