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As Lewis B. Smedes once said, to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Forgiveness is often one of the most difficult things for a person to do, but it’s also one of the most important.
Forgiveness brings peace, allowing you to let go of anger and hurt, and move on with your life. In the same way, asking for forgiveness can be equally difficult but equally rewarding.
If you’re stuck in a rut, either because you’ve been hurt by someone or have hurt someone close to you, these symbols will serve as inspirations for forgiving and (if not forgetting) at least letting go.
1. Forgiveness Symbol
The forgiveness symbol is simplistic in its design. It features the outline of a circle, with two horizontal bars running through it and extending beyond the perimeter of the circle. This Native American symbol represents forgiveness, new beginnings, and letting go of the past.
2. The Cross
The Christian symbol of the cross is one of the most recognized symbols of forgiveness, within the Christian context.
It represents forgiveness, salvation, redemption, and Jesus’ victory over death and sin.
According to the Bible, Jesus’ death on the cross was needed in order to bring forgiveness to the world and wash away the sins of the people. However, this symbol is religious and most non-believers don’t tend to gravitate towards it.
3. Mpatapo – Knot of Reconciliation
This Adinkra symbol features a square formed in one single stroke, with each edge looping over itself to continue the shape.
This tangled look represents the regrets, problems, and baggage people carry that messes their lives up, creating knots that they can’t seem to untangle.
Mpatapo represents reconciliation, hope, and peacemaking. It encourages you to engage with and address the issues that are holding you back, for only then can you go forward.
4. Clasped Hands
A symbol of forgiveness is that of two hands clasped together, requesting forgiveness for past sins. This comes from the act of pleading, whether religious or secular, which involves holding your hands together.
Therefore, this symbol represents the act of letting bygones be bygones, putting the past behind you, and making a commitment to friendship.
5. Olive Branch
A symbol of forgiveness, the olive branch represents mending relationships and forgetting the past. It’s also associated with peace and reconciliation. Offering an olive branch can be seen as an act of extending forgiveness or seeking forgiveness from others.
6. White Tulip
White tulips represent forgiveness, purity, tranquility, and the desire to mend fences and begin afresh. These flowers are perfect to give along with an apology.
7. Blue Hyacinth
One of the most beautiful flowers to look at, hyacinths feature clustering towers of fragrant, little bell-shaped flowers.
These flowers have several meanings based on their color, but the blue variety is often used to convey feelings of sorrow, regret, and a request for forgiveness.
The color blue represents honesty, trust, and truth, and by giving a bouquet of these blue blooms, you can seek forgiveness for telling an untruth and make a promise that it won’t happen again.
Daffodils convey the wish to start a new chapter and look forward to a more hopeful, optimistic future. They’re the perfect way to say I’m sorry.
9. Clementia and Eleos
On a side note, it’s interesting to note that the Greeks had a strong sense of justice and fairness, but not of forgiveness and mercy.
10. White Flag
The white flag is an internationally recognized symbol of surrender, truce, and peaceful resolution. It signifies the willingness to let go of hostility, forgive, and seek peace.
FAQs About Forgiveness Symbols
There are many flowers that symbolize forgiveness and say I’m sorry. The most notable ones are orchids, gardenia, lily of the valley, day lily, and daffodils.
Blue is the color of forgiveness. It’s calm, relaxing, and represents peace, harmony, and letting go.
The oak tree is a symbol of forgiveness, strength, and stability. It’s a powerful tree that symbolizes the strength of character and the personal power you receive when you forgive and let go.
Forgiveness is a major concept in Christianity, so there are many Christian symbols of forgiveness. These include the cross, the dove with an olive branch, the dove itself, and the image of Jesus.
There are many animals that represent forgiveness, but the most notable are the sparrow, the deer, and the ladybug.
7 Main Reasons to Forgive
You might have heard the Buddhist quote, holding onto anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. Letting go of resentment and anger is what it means to forgive. There are many benefits that come with forgiving someone. These can include:
- Emotional Healing: Holding onto anger, resentment, or grudges can weigh heavily on one’s mental and emotional well-being. By forgiving, individuals can release negative emotions and find inner peace, allowing themselves to heal and move forward.
- Letting Go of the Past: Forgiveness helps you to let go of the past and break free from its hold.
- Restoring Broken Relationships: Forgiveness can be a catalyst for repairing damaged relationships.
- Improved Physical Health: Research suggests that holding onto anger and resentment can have negative effects on physical health, leading to increased stress, higher blood pressure, and compromised immune system functioning. Choosing forgiveness may contribute to better overall health and well-being.
- Personal Growth and Empowerment: Choosing to forgive can be an empowering act. It signifies strength and resilience, as it requires individuals to confront their pain and choose a path of compassion and understanding.
- Freedom and Liberation: Forgiveness can provide a sense of freedom from the pain and bitterness of the past.
- Breaking the Cycle of Hurt and Retaliation: Forgiveness can break the cycle of hurt and retaliation. It offers an opportunity to disrupt patterns of negativity and revenge, promoting a more positive and peaceful approach to resolving conflicts.
Symbols can have different meanings and interpretations across cultures and individuals. These symbols serve as visual representations of forgiveness and can inspire reflection, healing, and the desire for reconciliation.