What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness refers to one’s willingness to release resentment and retaliation toward those who may have caused one harm1, as well as restoring relationship trust and healing inner emotional wounds2. Forgiveness also entails demonstrating compassion for the wrongdoer3.

The student materials for the AIM Buddy Project have been designed with this core definition in mind and highlight the following related issues:

  • Sometimes people do things that are wrong or that hurt our feelings
  • When people do things that are wrong or that hurt our feelings, we might feel angry, upset, and disappointed, and sometimes we might even feel like we want to get back at somebody for what they did

Forgiving someone means

  • We stop feeling angry, upset, and disappointed
  • We move on and not let it bother us anymore
  • We can go back to being nice to the person who had done something wrong – whether it was on purpose or not



  1. Hargrave, T.D. (1994).  Families and forgiveness:  A theoretical and therapeutic framework.  The Family Journal. 2, 339-348.

  2. DiBlasio, F.A., & Proctor, J.H. (1993). Therapists and the clinical use of forgiveness. American Journal of Family Therapy, 21, 175-184.

  3. Enright, Gassin, & Wu (2006). Forgiveness: a developmental view. Journal of Moral Education, 21(2), 99 – 114.

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