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One Powerful Quote About Forgiveness

As I’m working through Graham Greene’s famous novel, The Heart of the Matter, I’m reminded of how incredible a novelist this man was.

He might’ve been a bit of a creeper, but Greene could write.

He’s one of those writers that has so many zingers that work as powerful quotes even outside the context of the story. Here’s a passage to show you what I’m talking about.

He took another drink of whisky and his eyes moved gloomily away as Wilson watched him. “I must be off.”

“I’ll never forgive Pemberton for this.”

Scobie said sharply, “Don’t talk nonsense, dear. We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.” He smiled unwillingly at Wilson. “A policeman should be the most forgiving person in the world if he gets the facts straight.”

What stands out in that passage?

For me, it’s this line:

“We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.”

If we knew the facts, the context, all the decisions that brought that one person to cause an offense against us, then how would our response to them be? More empathetic? I think I agree with Greene, for the most part.

As I dig further into this novel, it’s obvious a lot of the characters are going to require forgiving—but once the facts present themselves, will they be forgiven?

Great line. What do you think?

More to come on Green and The Heart of the Matter.

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22 Comments Post a comment
  1. I think I read one of his short stories about a gang of kids that destroy an old man’s house. So disturbingly sad. This line sounds like it came from the author–the poignancy is there.

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    April 22, 2016
  2. He’s a brilliant writer and Heart of the Matter is a masterpiece. He is fantastic at moral dilemmas.

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    April 22, 2016
  3. Great line! I’ve never read any of Greene’s stuff but I think I’ll be looking up his work.

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    April 22, 2016
  4. That is a great line. Man would rather believe his mere opinion than the facts of life.

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    April 22, 2016
  5. I still want to believe, he is alive

    Liked by 1 person

    April 22, 2016
  6. Stephen McDaniel #

    Just finished reading ‘Our Man In Havana’ and ‘Brighton Rock’. ‘Havana’ is excellent with well drawn, quirky characters and well aimed swipes at the British Intelligence establishment. I am, however, ambivalent about Brighton Rock. The protagonist, Pinkie Brown, is not believable, many of the secondary characters are also a bit outre, and Greene spends a great deal of the book pushing a theological agenda which fits the plot like shoes on a duck. Greene can certainly write, but sometimes he tried too hard to be literary and profound, and missed the mark.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 22, 2016
  7. I agree with you, with regard to the line on forgiving if one had all the facts. I love it when a writer creates an inalienable truth so succinctly, wherein the reader thinks, “Why, of course!” Misunderstanding is typically built upon assumption, as opposed to the faces, but it does make an interesting story line.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 22, 2016
  8. I’m going to have to read this – these lines are excellent.

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    April 22, 2016
  9. Funny how I zoomed past that conversation in the book. Thanks for helping me go back in time and pause over that.

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    April 22, 2016
  10. Reblogged this on Anna's Reading List and commented:
    “We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.” ~ That sentence. It almost forces you to look back on all those times you convinced yourself that someone did something ‘unforgivable’!

    OK. This book is on my To-Read list!

    Like

    April 23, 2016
  11. I love Graham Greene. He is one of my all-time favorite writers. And this is my favorite of his novels. It’s not that he is pushing a theological agenda but he takes religion and spirituality seriously. As so many writers of his generation did. One of the things I took away from this novel was don’t jump to conclusions. And this quote calls attention to one of the themes of the novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    April 24, 2016
  12. An interesting post, thank you.The Heart of the Matter is also a devastating, sad, sad book. Final lines….”I’m too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone for ever.” What a weary soul this writer had.

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    April 24, 2016
    • That line is incredibly sad. I’m going to go get this book now!

      Like

      April 27, 2016
  13. Beautiful one

    Liked by 1 person

    April 26, 2016
  14. “We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.” – Yes, true lines. Nice post. I going to read this novel.

    Like

    April 28, 2016
  15. I love the sounds of this book. Such a powerful message.

    Like

    May 3, 2016
  16. Just wanted to say how noticeable it is to me when your blog posts DON’T show up in my reader. No shaming intended, I am astounded that you kept up such a rigorous, regular posting schedule for so many years. In case you ever start doubting, I think your project and your blog are still very worthwhile!

    Like

    May 12, 2016
    • Thank you! That means a lot. I know my posting frequency is way down, but I really don’t intend to keep it this way. The blog/project will continue on. I’ve got new post tomorrow as well!

      Like

      May 12, 2016
  17. This is a very interesting blog. I will enjoy reading more of it.

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    May 24, 2016
  18. Great line!

    Like

    June 14, 2016
  19. Great line, I’m currently going through this with someone who judged me without any facts. My blog has a piece on forgiveness coming soon. I may include this quote, thank you

    Like

    August 8, 2016

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