This quote is from Mahatma Gandhi, who was a leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule and a proponent of nonviolent resistance. The quote addresses the concept of forgiveness, suggesting that it requires strength to forgive others. Forgiving someone is often perceived as a difficult act because it involves letting go of resentment, anger, and desire for retribution, all of which can be deeply ingrained, especially if the harm done was significant.
When Gandhi says, “The weak can never forgive,” he is suggesting that those who lack emotional strength or maturity may hold onto grudges, resentment, or anger because they might see forgiveness as a form of defeat or as giving in. They may believe that forgiveness somehow lessens the seriousness of the wrong done to them. On the other hand, “Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong” conveys that it takes a strong person to overcome these negative feelings and forgive.
The “strong” here refers not to physical strength, but to emotional and moral strength. It’s about being able to rise above one’s personal hurt and anger. A strong person, in this context, understands that forgiveness is not about excusing a wrong, but about freeing oneself from the burden of ongoing resentment and opening a path towards healing and understanding. Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence and peace involved not just physical non-aggression, but also the cultivation of compassion and understanding, of which forgiveness is an integral part.