Shared by: Jon Cook

To pardon is to extend forgiveness of an offense. Pardon is mutually beneficial: It provides the offender with release from penalty; it provides the one granting pardon with release from bitterness. In effect, pardon involves “letting go” or “turning loose of.”

In life, particularly in the 21st century when the pace of life is so swift and we sometimes speak or act before we have time to weigh the consequences of our words or actions, we are bound to offend one another from time to time. The question is, will we harbor grudges and hostile feelings about the offense, or are we willing to deal with the offense – and the offender – in a positive, restoring way?

Pardon releases people to go forward. It acknowledges that we all do things that harm other people, sometimes greatly. Pardon frees people from bitterness and resentment. It removes the drive for revenge, and even the need to completely understand why an offense was committed. Pardon opens the way for reconciliation. Reconciliation, simply defined, is the restoration of relationship.

When pardon is lacking, people dwell in bitterness and resentment, holding grudges that over time may grow far out of proportion to the actual offense. Mental energy is often needlessly wasted trying to understand or justify. The drive for vengeance may become intense. Relationships can be poisoned.

In the absence of pardon, the person that offended is not granted freedom to move on and to grow; the person withholding pardon is in bondage to resentment and bitterness. It is a very unhappy way to live that adversely affects not only the individuals involved, but also the people around them.

We all make mistakes and do things that offend or harm others, whether intended or not. We desire and need relationships that are strong enough to endure mistakes and transgressions against one another, relationships in which our commitment to one another surpasses irritations and offenses. Pardon enables us to forgive and to continue to be in relationship with one another.


·      Relationships continue to develop.

·      People around the offending and offended parties benefit.

·      Stress decreases.

·      Others see and experience how pardon works, and may start practicing it in their own relationships.

·      People focus less on the minor irritations of life.

·      People invest more time and energy in the more important things in life.


Philosopher Samuel Johnson once made this observation: “A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.”

The Bible speaks of forgiveness and pardon in an even more compelling manner: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). Ultimately, the strongest basis of our forgiveness of others can be drawn from our understanding of how much God has forgiven us, despite our many offenses against Him.


Adapted from a booklet entitled “12 Seeds for Growing Relationships: Attitudes and Actions for Working and Winning Together,” by Norm Andersen.