Forgiveness Standards

Forgiveness is one of those words we throw around rather easily as an expectation for others.

We tell people all the time:

  • “Just forgive them and move on.”
  • “Forgive him and let it go.” 
  • “Remember, forgive and forget.”

But how often are we holding ourselves to the same standard?

If Elizabeth Smart can forgive her captors, can’t you forgive most, if not all people that have wronged you in life?

I mention Elizabeth Smart because she is the 102nd interview in FranklinCovey’s On Leadership podcast series. An interview like none of the previous 101. As a kidnap and sexual assault victim, Elizabeth has become a global victim rights advocate and among many other accomplishments, a mother of three herself.

She’s written a new book, Where There’s Hope: Healing, Moving Forward and Never Giving Up. She shares twenty-plus stories of people who’ve faced remarkable adversity in life, none of which I can even remotely relate to. It set a new standard (much lower to be clear) for how I choose to forgive and move on.

  • Was the comment said by your brother-in-law over Thanksgiving dinner really all that insulting after all?
  • Was the neighbor’s question about your front yard really meant to minimize your gardening skills?
  • Did your mother’s vote in the last presidential election really offend you three years later?
  • Were the words shared by your friend as feedback about your last blog post intended to diminish you or improve your next one?

Are you looking for ways to be insulted and wouldn’t your life be better if you just entered every relationship pre-forgiving everyone for their first infraction? I know you’ll need to pre-forgive me because I’ve been known to say some crazy sh*t and was horrified to learn I’d hurt someone’s feelings or offended them.

Here’s a deal – I’ll raise my standard on what I do and say, and you lower your standard on forgiving, or pre-forgiving me.


In most areas of life, we’re all striving to raise our standards. Maybe there’s one where we can finally feel great about lowering our standard.

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About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Releases, Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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