A Bahá’í came to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to speak on behalf of a young Persian, who was trying to attach himself to the Faith. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained that should anyone commit a hundred wrongs against His own person He would overlook them all and treat the offender with kindness; should anyone act treasonably towards His own person, He would act towards the offender as if he were someone most trusted, but He (‘Abdu’l-Bahá) could never countenance nor aid any deed which would injure the Faith. To murder Him, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, would be preferable to defrauding others; murdering Him would not harm the Faith, defrauding people would.
(H.M. Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá - The Centre of the Covenant, p. 393)
Although individuals are admonished to forgive one another on a personal level, this does not imply a right on the part of one individual to excuse another from the consequences of serious misconduct or criminal behavior. Judgment in such matters, whether involving violation of Bahá’í laws or violation of civil laws, can only be provided by duly constituted institutions.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, pp. 51-52.)
As a devoted believer you are urged to strive to develop forgiveness in your heart toward your parents who have abused you in so disgraceful a manner, and to attain a level of insight which sees them as captives of their lower nature, whose actions can only lead them deeper into unhappiness and separation from God. By this means, you can liberate yourself from the anger to which you refer in your letter.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to this author, 9 September, 1992)
As the spirit of man after putting off this material form has an everlasting life, certainly any existing being is capable of making progress; therefore it is permitted to ask for advancement, forgiveness, mercy, beneficence, and blessings for a man after his death, because existence is capable of progression. That is why in the prayers of Bahá’u’lláh forgiveness and remission of sins are asked for those who have died.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 329)
[Forgiveness] is an essential part of the spiritual growth of a person who has been wronged. To nurse a grievance or hatred against another soul is spiritually poisonous to the soul which nurses it, but to strive to see another person as a child of God and, however heinous his deeds, to attempt to overlook his sins for the sake of God, removes bitterness from the soul and both ennobles and strengthens it.
(Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 5 January 1992)
If one of you has been wounded in the heart by the words or deeds of another, during the past year, forgive him now; that in purity of heart and loving pardon, you may feast in happiness, and arise, renewed in spirit.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 49)
If some one commits an error and wrong toward you, you must instantly forgive him.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 453)
It is seemly that the servant should, after each prayer, supplicate God to bestow mercy and forgiveness upon his parents. Thereupon God’s call will be raised: ‘Thousand upon thousand of what thou hast asked for thy parents shall be thy recompense!’ Blessed is he who remembereth his parents when communing with God.
(The Báb, Lights of Guidance, p. 230)
Now that you realize that your husband is ill, you should be able to reconcile yourself to the difficulties you have faced with him emotionally, and not take an unforgiving attitude, however much you may suffer.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 227)
Pray ye for all; ask ye that all be blessed, all be forgiven … Look ye not upon the creatures, turn ye to their Creator. See ye not the never-yielding people, see but the Lord of Hosts. Gaze ye not down upon the dust, gaze upward at the shining sun, which hath caused every patch of darksome earth to glow with light.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 73)
Show ye an endeavor that all the nations and communities of the world, even the enemies, put their trust, assurance and hope in you; that if a person falls into errors for a hundred-thousand times he may yet turn his face to you, hopeful that you will forgive his sins; for he must not become hopeless, neither grieved nor despondent. This is the conduct and the manner of the people of Bahá‘. This is the foundation of the most high pathway!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 436)
The peerless example of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá merits close scrutiny in your quest for a sense of forgiveness; His abiding love for humanity, despite its waywardness and perversity enabled Him to manifest sincere compassion and magnanimity to those who had brought Him distress and hardship.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Dec 02, Child Abuse, Psychology and Knowledge of Self)
The sinner, when his heart is free from all save God, must seek forgiveness from God alone. Confession before the servants (i.e. before men) is not permissible, for it is not the means or the cause of Divine Forgiveness. Such confession before the creatures leads to one’s humiliation and abasement, and God—exalted by His Glory—does not wish for the humiliation of His servants. Verily He is Compassionate and Beneficent. The sinner must, between himself and God, beg for mercy from the Sea of Mercy and implore pardon from the Heaven of Forgiveness.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Glad Tidings, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 84-85)
To forgive him will not be easy, and this is not something to which either you or the members of your family can force yourselves. Nevertheless, you should know that forgiveness is the standard which individual Bahá’ís are called upon to attain. It is an essential part of the spiritual growth of a person who has been wronged. To nurse a grievance or hatred against another soul is spiritually poisonous to the soul which nurses it, but to strive to see another person as a child of God and, however heinous his deeds, to attempt to overlook his sins for the sake of God, removes bitterness from the soul and both ennobles and strengthens it.
(Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 5 January 1992)
We ought to show something greater than forgiveness in meeting the cruelties and stricture in our lives. To be hurt and to forgive is saintly, but far beyond this is the power to comprehend and not be hurt. This power we may have – acceptance without complaint – and it should become associated with our name. We ought never to be known to complain or lament. It is not that we make the best of things, but that we may find in everything, even in calamity itself, the germ of enduring wisdom. We ought not to resist the shocks and upheavals of life, nor run counter to obstacles, we ought never to be impatient. We ought to be as incapable of impatience as we would to revolt. This is not being so much ‘long suffering’ as a quiet awareness of the forces that operate in the hours, days or years of waiting and inactivity. Always we ought to move with the larger rhythm, the wider sweep towards our ultimate goal, in that complete acquiescence, that perfect accord which underlies the spirit of the Faith itself.
(Written by Marjory Morten about The Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum: “The Passing of Bahiyyih Khanum” in ‘Crystalizations‘, p. 174)
While individuals are enjoined to be forgiving and forbearing, Assemblies, parents, and other responsible parties cannot afford to be na´ve, foolish, or anything less than continually vigilant with regard to the protection and safety of vulnerable members of the community entrusted to their care.
(National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 52).