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Clinton Comments on Forgiveness

August 28, 1998

President Clinton’s remarks Friday concerning forgiveness during a ceremony marking the 35th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ``I Have a Dream″ speech:

All of you know, I’m having to become quite an expert in this business of asking for forgiveness. It gets a little easier the more you do it. And if you have a family, an administration, a Congress and a whole country to ask you, you’re going to get a lot of practice.

But I have to tell you that in these last days, it has come home to me, again, something I first learned as president, but it wasn’t burned in my bones, and that is that in order to get it, you have to be willing to give it.

And all of us _ the anger, the resentment, the bitterness, the desire for recrimination against people you believe have wronged you, they harden the heart and deaden the spirit and lead to self-inflicted wounds. And so it is important that we are able to forgive those we believe have wronged us, even as we ask for forgiveness from people we have wronged. And I heard that first _ first _ in the civil rights movement: ``Love thy neighbor as thyself.″

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