Commonly it is understood that forgiveness means sacrificing justice. However, the present study shows that the act of forgiving can increase a sense of justice, which in turn facilitates benevolent sentiments towards the offender. University students (N = 88) imagined themselves as victims and, after the offender either did or did not offer an apology, they either were or were not instructed to express their forgiveness to the offender (via an email). Results showed that, irrespective of apology, the expression of forgiveness led to a greater sense of justice in victims, mediated via feelings of status/power and the perception of a value consensus with the offender. The feeling of justice further mediated the effects of the forgiveness expression in terms of reducing hostile emotions, revenge motivation and retributive attitudes, as well as increasing the willingness to reconcile with the offender. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.