7 Reasons Why To Err Is Human And To Forgive is Divine

“To err is human and to forgive is divine” said Alexander Pope. 

One of the biggest flaws of my personality used to be my inability to forgive anyone. I’d take everything personally, let it make me angry, and let it ruin my relationships. I’d always have the mentality that “If you mess me around we’re done”.

That mentality led only to pain. It was one of the aspects of my personality that I needed to change in order to be truly happy.


The problem was that even though I knew I needed to forgive, I’d always ask “Why should I”?

Why should you bother forgiving people who have screwed you over? Why shouldn’t you hurt them like they hurt you?

 The thing is, people mess up. That’s life. Even with the best of intentions people still make mistakes. We all do.

A lot of people seem to think that they’re done wrong, but that they themselves never do wrong. They seem to be blind to the fact that they themselves are human too and prone to mistakes. We all make mistakes so we should all be willing to forgive mistakes.

When you accept the fact that people mess up, something special happens: you learn to let go and to stop being so upset and hurt by other people’s shortcomings.

I personally make it my mission in life to make as many people as possible happy and to never hurt anyone. Guess what? Sometimes I mess up. That’s life. That’s also why I realised years ago that I needed to be able to forgive, because I’m not perfect so it’d be bullshit for me to expect perfection from someone else.

English poet Alexander Pope said “To err is human. To forgive, divine”. In a lot of ways, that says it all. Because making mistakes is an inevitability of being human. And forgiveness is a trait of the divine.

Here are 7 reasons why to err is human, and to forgive is divine.

  1.  Because when you forgive someone, you help them to accept themselves

No one likes making mistakes. Some people cope okay with their errors, some dwell on them.

My worst mistake was criticising my father too severely. Now he’s passed away. My father had trouble accepting himself. And I know now, looking back, that there should have been more times when I said, “It’s okay, dad. I forgive your mistakes. I love you”. I truly wish I had said that more often.

When you tell someone that you forgive their mistakes, you help them to forgive their own mistakes too. It takes two seconds to say “It’s okay”.  But those two words can make all the difference.

  1. Because if no one made mistakes, the world would be a shallow place

If people weren’t allowed to make mistakes, the world would never be as amazing as it is. Thomas Edison said, “I have successfully found 1000 ways to not make a light bulb.” That’s 1000 mistakes that led to one of the most important inventions of all time.

No one ever achieved anything worth achieving without making a few mistakes on the way. Failure and mistakes are the pathway to success. If you don’t allow people to make mistakes, you don’t allow them to create success.

  1. Because when you forgive you grow

Life made you the way you are. Maybe you harbour resentments. Maybe you don’t forgive people because people didn’t forgive you.

The classic example of this is the unforgiving father, the guy who was never allowed to make mistakes as a kid, so now he himself never lets his own kids make mistakes. Such a familial pattern leads to a bloodline marred by resentment.

But that father has the power to forgive his kid’s errors. He can accept his kid’s mistakes. The moment he learns to forgive he overcomes his past and changes his future.

  1. Because when you forgive someone, they’ll forgive you, and when you forgive each other you’ll find a deep bond

If you’re unforgiving to someone, chances are they’re going to be unforgiving to you too. We treat people how they treat us. So you fail to forgive each other and you drift apart. Many relationships and friendships have died that way.

But what if one of you sucked it up and said, “You know what? You hurt me. But I understand. You made a mistake. Hell, I’ve made mistakes too. I forgive you.”

There’s a 99% chance the other person would say “I forgive you too”.

Sharing forgiveness is a meaningful and spiritual experience. There are times when I’ve thought I’d never forgive someone, times when I thought we’d never again be friends. But then I found it in me to say “I forgive you”. And the very act of saying those words has made our relationship stronger than it ever would have been.

  1. Because when you let people show you their weaknesses you earn their trust forever

It’s easy to be the person who’s there during the good times. It’s easy to want to share other people’s successes. But to want to share other people’s weaknesses? Now that’s divine.

When you allow people to share their weaknesses and their mistakes with you you form a deep bond. There are probably a hundred people in your life who would be there for the good times. How many are there for the bad times? Just the ones that matter, that handful of people who are true family.

When you show someone that you can forgive them, you let them share their weaknesses with you. And when you share in someone’s weaknesses, you form a truly deep bond.

  1. Because forgiveness is really good for your health

Science has proven that forgiveness is extremely beneficial for your health. Did you know that forgiving people have lower heart rates and better blood pressure? Did you know that people who forgive have better immune systems and are more able to overcome illnesses? Those are just a couple of the reasons why you’ll be healthier when you learn to forgive. You can find a complete list of the health benefits of forgiveness via this link.

  1. Because accepting other people’s mistakes help you accept yourself

People who expect perfection from others tend to expect perfection from themselves. The problem is that no one’s perfect. The more you expect perfection from yourself the more you’re going to feel disappointed.

By accepting other people’s mistakes you learn to accept your own mistakes too. And when you accept yourself you form a more positive relationship with yourself.

One of the best ways to learn to forgive others and to forgive yourself is to practice Loving Kindness meditation. It’s a simple, healthy practice that can make a big difference.

Let go. Learn to forgive. Be divine. You can discover the pathways to forgiveness is my guide: Welcome To Silence.



Paul Martin Harrison

Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher, author and journalist based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential. Don’t miss Paul’s inspirational and enlightening book Journey To The Buddha Within You.