Music can help heal us and teach us essential values like forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the traits that we all should strive to have, and the ability to forgive has been a theme in thousands of songs.
If you want to know 33 of the best forgiveness songs, keep reading.
1. Always On My Mind – Willie Nelson
First on our list is someone that doesn’t need an introduction, and it’s Willie Nelson with the cover of Always On My Mind from the 1982 album Always On My Mind. This song is about forgiveness and feeling bad because he didn’t appreciate the person he was with enough. Even small gestures can show someone that we forgive them.
2. Please Forgive Me – Bryan Adams
Next on our list is Bryan Adams with his 1993 hit Please Forgive Me from the So Far So Good album. The song asks for forgiveness from a former lover and says that he still loves her and would want to be with her even now. It’s a song where he apologizes about how he feels about someone, and it’s one of the most iconic songs by Adams.
The song reached number two on the Adult Contemporary chart and the Mainstream Top 40 and seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
3. Forgiveness – Santana
Released in 2016 from the album Santana IV, the song Forgiveness by Santana makes our list because it’s all about how powerful forgiveness can be.
At the same time, the song goes into the fact you can forgive but not forget.
4. I Forgive You – Kellie Pickler
Next up is Kellie Pickler, who released I Forgive You from her 2013 album The Woman I Am. This was a very personal song for Kellie because she wrote it after coming to terms with her mom abandoning her and her father being an addict.
Her grandparents raised her because of their issues, so she was at a point where she could forgive them for what they did to her.
5. We Can Work It Out – The Beatles
We can’t have a list about forgiveness without including The Beatles and their hit song from 1965 We Can Work It Out. This is a great song that talks about forgiveness and how compromising is often the best option. The song has a high tempo, is upbeat, and is also inspiring as far as being able to work things out with someone you’re in a predicament with.
We Can Work It Out reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box Top 100 charts.
6. I Forgive You – Kelly Clarkson
In 2011, the first American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson released I Forgive You from her album Stronger. The song details forgiving people who had hurt her in the past, but it’s difficult, and she struggles with it.
7. Sorry – Justin Bieber
Calling all young people, we must include Justin Bieber and his 2015 hit single Sorry on our list because this was a viral song with an upbeat tempo that includes an apology. He is looking for a second chance in the song, and the pop and dance aspects helped this song top the charts and break records.
The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Dance Club Songs chart, Rhythmic chart, and Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart. Sorry is also found in television shows, including Skam and Love Island.
Recommended: Best songs for apologizing to someone
8. Back To December – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift often writes about emotions and feelings, and in her 2010 song Back To December from the Speak Now album, she talks about making a mistake and then wanting forgiveness. She reflects on relationships in her past and how she messed them up. She sings about the regret she has over those mistakes.
This song reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100, three on the Hot Country Songs chart, and 11 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart.
9. Reunited – Peaches & Herb
Our next song is a classic you’ve probably heard before: Reunited by Peaches and Herb. This song was released in 1978, and it’s all about reconciling with that someone special that you think is your soulmate. Reunited instantly became a hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100, number one on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs, and four on the Adult Contemporary chart.
10. Amazing Grace – Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley released a cover of Amazing Grace, and this is the perfect song asking for forgiveness, and if you’re religious, then you believe that forgiveness comes when you die.
The song is played at many funerals, and when you listen to the Elvis version, it’s a lot more gospel mixed with instruments and the piano, which makes his version different from the others.
11. Ms. Jackson – Outkast
Rap group Outkast had a hit song with Ms. Jackson in 2000 about how a guy got a girl pregnant, and they weren’t married, and now she won’t let him see their child. He has remorse in the song and asks for forgiveness, so it’s a common situation people have found themselves in and can relate to.
The song was very popular when it was released and made it number one on the Billboard Hot 100, Hot Rap Songs, Rhythmic charts, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and 13 on the Mainstream Top 40 chart.
12. Apologize – Timbaland feat. OneRepublic
Next on our list is OneRepublic, and they released Apologize in 2007 off of the album Shock Value. This song has been featured in movies and television shows such as The Hills. It’s all about how saying you’re sorry may not be helpful in a relationship because it’s too late.
Sometimes walking away is the best answer even though you don’t want to when you know the apology was insincere. Apologize was a huge hit and reached number one on both the Adult Top 40 and Mainstream Top 40 charts and reached two on the Billboard Hot 100.
13. Apology Song – The Decemberists
In 2004 The Decemberists released Apology Song, a lighter type of apology song with the apology being that the guy stole his friend’s bike. In the song, he talks about grieving for stealing the bike, and it’s just a funnier look at why we might have to apologize to someone.
14. Sorry – Ciara
Sorry by Ciara was released in 2012, and this song is more about how even our words can hurt someone and that we should say we’re sorry for our words and hurtful actions. A woman in the song spends time reflecting on the fact that she made mistakes and wants to reconcile, but it’s denied to show us how words also have consequences. It reached number six on the Hot Dance Club songs chart.
15. If I Could Turn Back Time – Cher
Next up is a song that features an iconic music video of Cher dancing in a sexy outfit showing her backside. Cher released If I Could Turn Back Time in 1989 off her album Heart of Stone. The song is all about wanting to change the past by going back in time, so you can feel the regret in the song and yearning to make things right. It’s all about taking responsibility for your actions and mistakes. If I Could Turn Back Time reached number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and number three on the Billboard Hot 100.
16. Wings Of Forgiveness – India Arie
In 2006, India Arie released Wings of Forgiveness, which focused on making amends and affirmations, going into detail about things she did wrong and wanting forgiveness for those things. In this song, she compares forgiveness to a fundamental human right, so it puts mistakes into perspective and says that love means forgiveness.
17. Forgiven – Alanis Morissette
Released off of Jagged Little Pill in 1995, Forgiven by Alanis Morrisette is a song about how religion has made people feel guilty for things they do and puts fear into people. She then talks about if it’s a sin she shouldn’t be forgiven for because that’s what religion is all about.
18. Pray For Forgiveness – Alicia Keys
Up next is Alicia Keys with her hit song Pray For Forgiveness from her 2009 album The Element of Freedom. The song is more biblical in nature since she talks about praying for forgiveness and, at the same time turning to prayer to help her find the right answers to her problems.
It’s a lovely ballad that goes into prayer and how prayer can help when we feel lost.
19. Sorry – Sleeping With Sirens
In 2013 Sleeping With Sirens released Sorry from their album Feel. This is a very deep song about trying to find peace in life for mistakes you’ve made in the past. Regret is part of the song, and the lyrics talk about how it is hard to move on, yet they take responsibility for the pain they caused in the past.
This song goes into how we should all take responsibility, which takes courage, and then we can be forgiven and finally feel free.
20. Let’s Kiss & Make Up – Shania Twain
Shania Twain is a huge country star, and in 2017 she released Let’s Kiss and Make Up from her album Now. This is a lesser-known song, but it’s a great upbeat song going into how you can have issues in a relationship but that it’s not worth breaking up over, and it’s possible to move on with that relationship.
It’s not only flirty and fun but more lighthearted about not letting little disagreements ruin a good thing when you’re in love.
21. Headlights – Eminem feat. nate Ruess
Coming off the 2013 hit album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem released the song Headlights which is about his up-and-down relationship with his mother. It details how his mom was an addict, which affected them both, but while Eminem feels let down by her, he’s willing to forgive what she did and wants to move on.
This song reached number 11 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart and 17 on the Rhythmic chart. It also peaked at 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 and 25 on the Mainstream Top 40.
22. Hello – Adele
Our next artist is Adele, who released Hello in 2015 off her album 25, which was very successful. In this song, she is talking to people in her past and herself when she was younger, and even about the fans. It’s a wonderful song that charted in multiple countries, including the United States.
This song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, Adult Top 40, Dance Club Songs chart, Adult Contemporary chart, and Dance/Mix Show Airplay chart.
23. I Want You Back – The Jackson 5
The first national single from The Jackson 5, I Want You Back, makes it onto our list. This song was released in 1969 and is about begging your former girl for forgiveness because you want her back. He is jealous seeing other guys interested in her and realizes he didn’t appreciate her so now he’s promising he will be better if she forgives him and takes him back.
It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and Best Selling Soul Singles chart.
24. Forgiven Me – Mary Mary
In 2008 Mary Mary released Forgiven Me from their album The Sound, and this is about forgiving yourself, which means you’re going to have shame and guilt, but you need to feel that in order to move on. Once you’ve forgiven yourself, then you can move on and be happy since it will make you feel free.
25. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word – Elton John
Elton John released Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word in 1976 from his Blue Moves album. It’s about acknowledging the wrong you did so that you can do something about it, which means saying “I am sorry” and figuring out how to make someone want and care for him.
26. So Sorry – Feist
In the song So Sorry by Feist, we hear about how you can just say you’re sorry without fanfare, and it’s a simple word we all should be saying more often. Straightforward and to the point, this song is the best if you’re looking for the courage to just say the word “sorry” to the person you feel you’ve wronged.
27. Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright – Bob Dylan
Next on our list is folk singer Bob Dylan who released Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright in 1963. This song is about being motivated to move on from a past relationship where your heart was broken, and you need to forgive them and just let it go.
While you can hear the bitterness still, it’s a song about putting it all into perspective. It was featured on many movies and television shows, including Men of a Certain Age, Dogfight, Friday Night Lights, and Mad Men.
28. Once – Maren Morris
In her debut album from 2015, Maren Morris released Once off the album HERO, a soulful song about forgiveness. It goes into how to heal from a broken heart and break up with that someone you felt you really did love.
Maren was both a pop and country artist, so this song mixes both genres and is a staple about learning how to and the power behind forgiveness.
29. Forgive and Forget – You Me At Six
You Me At Six released the song Forgive and Forget, which was released in 2014 off of the Cavalier Youth album. This is a song that goes into how people can change over the years and misunderstandings happen with neither person wanting to accept an apology. This song goes into how hard it can be to forget or forgive.
30. Forgiven – Sanctus Real
Calling all Christian rock fans, next up on our list is Sanctus Real and their 2010 song Forgiven from Pieces of a Real Heart. This lovely song is about forgiveness and grace and recognizing that God loves you and there is always redemption to be had when God loves you. Hope through grace is wonderful, and this song reminds us all about that. This song reached number one on the R&R Christian CHR format and four on the Billboard Christian Songs, Christian Airplay, and Christian AC charts.
31. In Between – Linkin Park
Rock band Linkin Park released the album Minutes to Midnight in 2007, and one great song about forgiveness was the lesser-known track: In Between. This song is all about being genuine and apologizing for wrongdoings.
He asks for forgiveness and then hopes to get a second chance to make everything right.
Recommended: Songs about second chances
32. Sorry, Blame It On Me – Akon
On our list next is Akon released the song Sorry, Blame It On Me in 2006 from his album Konvicted. This song is where Akon talks about how he messed up and is asking to be forgiven, so it’s about reflecting on your past and feeling guilt and a lot of regrets for those actions.
Humility is required when trying to be forgiven, and having the courage to ask for that forgiveness will help you heal.
33. Sweet Forgiveness – Bonnie Raitt
In 1977 Bonnie Raitt released the song Sweet Forgiveness which is all about someone being there for you even with all of your flaws. If you make a mistake, that person will be there for you, and this song goes into how special that person is.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.