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Forgiveness is a quality by which one ceases to feel resentment against another for a wrong he or she has committed against oneself or gives up any claim for a debt owed by another (i.e., one forgives another or forgives a debt). It may be granted with or without the other asking for forgiveness.

It is recognized in Christianity as a spiritual gift. Spiritual forgiveness does not necessarily have any connection with material or financial forgiveness. One may spiritually forgive another, yet expect that the other should still make material or financial amends. God is believed by some to be infinitely forgiving (according to Christians, at the cost of His Son), and, indeed, the source of all forgiveness.

Of course, belief in a deity is not necessary for forgiveness. It can be motivated by love, philosophy, appreciation for the forgiveness of others, empathy, or personal temperament. Even pure pragmatism can lead to forgiveness, as it is well documented that people who forgive are happier than those who hold grudges.

Forgiveness may be necessary for civilization, since without it, all wrongs would demand revenge, which may themselves be taken as wrongs requiring revenge, resulting in a spiralling escalation of retaliation, leading ultimately to utter destruction.

In Roman mythology, Clementia was the goddess of forgiveness and mercy.

See also A Course In Miracles (spiritual work centered on forgiveness).