Forgiving one’s enemies

By Paulo Coelho

An abbot met his favourite student and enquired after his spiritual progress. The student replied that he was managing to devote every moment of his day to God.
 
‘Now all you need to do is to forgive your enemies.’
 
The young man was shocked:
 
‘But I don’t need to! I’m not angry with my enemies!’
 
‘Do you think God is angry with you?’
 
‘Of course not!’
 
‘And yet you still ask Him for His forgiveness, don’t you? Do the same with your enemies, even if you don’t hate them. By forgiving someone, you are washing and perfuming your own soul.’

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Comments

  1. Hello Paulo,
    I loved the Alchemist. A few weeks back I had written a review of the book in my blog. I received the following comment from a person named Valentina

    Dear Archana, Paulo Coelho got wind of your blog and wants to post this article on his blog.
    Paulo Coelho’s blog
    In case you have any restrictions, do not hesitate to write me on my email : valentinawol@gmail.com
    Have a wonderful day!

    I have been looking forward to seeing my post here, ever since.

  2. Sonya Bains says:

    We all make mistakes and I feel it’s important to forgive, and at least try to forget, for spiritual growth. However, when a person has cunningly manipulated and schemed to hurt another person, then what is there to forgive? This is difficult, especially when you know that person hasn’t changed and will continue on this evil path.

  3. Lynn Brown says:

    At the moment I find forgiveness and forgetting to be a balance of what has happened to you and the effect it has had on your life. For several years I have suffered with PTSD. It wasn’t until I was at a low point that I had to accept this mental condtion. Following on I found out the truth with regards to some of the peoples actions towards me, but I also decided on closure on another relationship. To forgive these people was hard, but at a low point in my life I was at no return. I relearnt to pray and find forgiveness and practice every negative thought to speak out. So in every moment I think of the horrible things some of these people have done to me I forgive them. I may have lost old, good friends and I did lose the love of my life. I try to stop giving energy to the negative thoughts and these people put towards me and I forget by using it in my work. Since than I have gone on to win awards and cilents for my work. The British Police have now started to acknowledge the poor standards of solving local crime. If they did their job properly from the beginning I would not gone through so much.

  4. Mitzi says:

    I believe in Forgiving, for this is a way to ease the pain and let the feelings go. This is closure and it is very healthy to ones soul. Forgetting is Never, I will never forget and i will have learned a valubule lesson and that will be a tool for life. To forget is to be a fool, I think this is part of the learning process and to gain higher achievement in life, you must remember. Remember what ever it is that led you to disbelief. For a God is a higher being and understands the path it took to be where they stand in ones life. I believe to have an open mind and to understand things and people and why they choose to do what they do. I believe they are misguided or misdirected educationally and don’t understand that there are conquences for everything. Every action has a reaction and you must in a way deal with it. I have run into many situations in my life starting as a young child and I have learned through experience that life is how you make it and you make your own beds. But to forgive is a beautiful thing and I will never forget, this will be a permnment scar.

  5. Rivka says:

    On forgiving, I have learned that there are something I choose not to forgive. For example, abusive people who do not care for the hurt they have caused. Sexually abusing, or abusing children in any manner, is unforgivable to me. If a perpetrator is truly repentant, that is a different story. But if they aren’t, I choose not to forgive. This helps me develop a strong and healthy sense of boundaries: what is good to let in and what is bad and to keep out. This is how I experience and understand forgiveness. It is not a “freebie”; to simply hand out. It is a very serious exchange between two souls. Thanks for a great conversation! -Rivka, Brooklyn, NY

  6. Greg Roach says:

    A few years ago I had a very moving conversation with a muslim woman nearly beaten to death in London on 9/12/2001. She told me about how she not only forgave her three young attackers, but asked the court to not send them to prison. What flowed from that act of forgiveness is an incredible lesson for us all.

    You can read about the encounter – or hear a podcast here:

    http://www.spiritquestworld.net/?p=920

    Much Love and Peace to All.

  7. [...] Forgiving one’s enemies By Paulo Coelho An abbot met his favourite student and enquired after his spiritual progress…. [...]

  8. Marie-Christine says:

    I agree with that. Two sides – negative and positive -

  9. A.V.C. says:

    Sometimes, I think that one needs a little distance to be able to forgive.

    It is much easier to forgive when one has seen at least some of the various consequences from that particular act, not just the bad ones.

    There are always both positive and negative consequences from every act, if we are willing to see them.

  10. Marcos says:

    Should the forgiveness be out loud and to the person who wronged you? What if they feel no remorse for what they did?

    I’d like to forgive someone, but they showed no remorse for the hurtful acts they did, and it was simpler to shut them out of my life rather than keep them in my life and risk hurt again because they had no remorse. But each day I miss that person more and more, and pray often that one day he’d come in and say I’m sorry. I’d welcome him with open arms. But if there was no remorse, I don’t know if I could forgive him.

    Any advice?

  11. Reez says:

    Forgiving others is also forgiving yourself. And forgiving the world. And in that way you’re also forgiven. Which creates a balance of one’s life.

    Cheers! :)

  12. Le escribo porque he leído su columna en la revista el Semanal que hacia referencia a cuentos sobre animales, sobre animales va mi pregunta.

    Hace 15 días falleció mi gato Mofli, un gato de 16 años (96 en humano), me gustaria saber que piensa sobre la muerte de un animal.

    Nosotros le echamos mucho de menos y la pasamos mal po su ausencia.

    Maria Ruiz Molpeceres (Cantabria) Castro Urdiales

  13. Godfrey says:

    Is it better to forgive or forget?

  14. aditya says:

    Hi ! Friends !! Paulo !

    forgiving is soul cleansing, even when we are not in a position to retaliate !! hmmm..

    today I saw something very interesting, there was a photograph of a woman suicide bomber in HT, with a caption “face of terror”. The body from stomach up ( rest was blown away) was lying in sitting position, against some wall, face serene & intact, face of a woman probably in late 30s or early 40s, in the explosion her cloths too were ripped aprt, some kind soul has put a inadequate piece of cloth to cover her chest. eyes shut !! I was immesnely saddened to see !! in the accompanying news report, it said the woman had blown herself up near some security garrison, and “fortunately there were no casulaties”
    have we become so insensitive not to see that there was at least one casulty, the woman herself ! do we not treat these ‘terrorists’ as humans ! however astray they may have gone ! whatever may be the complusion of this particular lady, I shed a tear.

  15. Hello Paulo,
    I loved the Alchemist. A few weeks back I had written a review of the book in my blog. I received the following comment from a person named Valentina

    Dear Archana, Paulo Coelho got wind of your blog and wants to post this article on his blog.
    Paulo Coelho’s blog
    In case you have any restrictions, do not hesitate to write me on my email : valentinawol@gmail.com
    Have a wonderful day!

    I have been looking forward to seeing my post here, ever since.

  16. agnieszka says:

    Dear Paulo,

    Not easy thing to do (to forgive), but…..
    – it’ll make us feel better if we do so.
    I think that everything comes back to us,
    whether it’s a smile or bad thoughts
    or any grudges we keep inside ourselves.
    So if we want to feel good we should let it go –
    forgive, forget and move on.

    If we try to be nice and smile…….
    who knows maybe it’ll do some magic
    and this person could change into our friend?????
    ……Just hoping,dreaming – as I always do.

    Also God said we should love our enemies as well as friends,
    isn’t He/She?