The Irish Word For Forgiveness

Pádraig Ó Tuama, in his book of poems: Sorry For Your Troubles, says…

The Irish word for forgiveness is maithiúnas. It comes from the word maith, meaning good.

The word is the same, or similar, in Cymraeg, Gaelg, and Gaidhlig—other languages spoken across the islands of Britain and Ireland.

To forgive someone is “to good” them. To forgive someone is to treat them with the goodness with which they did not treat you.

Curiously, this syntax arranges power as the possession of the troubled one. It is they who can good, and if the one whose hands caused the trouble asks for forgiveness, they say “maith dom,” — “good me.”

Forgiveness is not a person, place, or thing. Forgiveness, like priesthood, if it is to be anything, must be a verb.

Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. —Ephesians 4.32


I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

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