Forgiveness


Woman-At-The-Well3 Nephi 12:21-24
Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, and it is also written before you, that thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment of God; but I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of his judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore, if ye shall come unto me, or shall desire to come unto me, and rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee—go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you.

For some, who have yet to receive the baptism of fire, this might be the one thing holding you back. Put the Lord to the test and see if he doesn’t receive you when you do exactly this.

D&C 64:8-10
My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened. Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

This gives one a thing to check on if one is being afflicted and sorely chastened. This passage also implies, logically, that in the end, the only real sin is not forgiving others of all their trespasses. That, in turn, leads one to the conclusion that it is lack of forgiveness that characterizes those who are cast out.

I knew a man, upward of 10 years ago, who was cast out of his home by his soon-to-be-ex-wife. He felt betrayed by her; a burning coal of pain was placed in his heart and he had no relief from it. She owed him! And he obsessed about it for a couple of weeks, until it occurred to him that given the way he felt about her, they could not both be exalted, for the exalted dwell in unity and harmony, mutually indwelling, knowing all there is to know about each other. It would be intolerable to exist in that unity with those who bear the pains of betrayal in their hearts towards them. Moreover, even if she would admit her fault in the matter, she would not change her course, and she could not make him whole. There was therefore no purpose served by holding on to her debts, so he freely forgave her of all her debts to him, both temporal and spiritual. Maybe someday they could be friends again, and maybe in the next world they could dwell happily in each others’ presence. If it were not to be so, at least it would not be because of him. And because he did that, the glowing ember of pain was taken from his heart, and the Lord invited him to see what Joseph saw.

This doesn’t mean that man gets along with his ex.

May we all forgive all.

16 Responses

  1. May I be the first to thank you for turning our minds to one of the most important requirements of the Lord to receive what He desires to give us – peace? The peace the Lord has in mind for us passes all understanding. I have felt that peace, but only after I did all within my power to forgive others – and myself – for any offenses given or taken. Any time I lose that feeling of peace, I invariably discover I have given or taken offense and have need to repent. Again, thank you Log for this timely, inspiring post

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    • I apologize for the brevity of the post – it is the short-short version.

      I remember around three years ago I heard a talk in conference on “forgiving oneself.” As possibly one of the most narrow, extreme literalists alive, I threw up my mental hands and said “what is this nonsense? Who doesn’t forgive oneself?” Yet right then, the Spirit overrode what I was hearing with my ears and this is the message I got:

      Do not bear down on yourself. Inasmuch as you do so, you set the atonement at naught. If you need to feel badly, you will be made to feel badly.

      That was the gist of what was communicated. I had been in the habit of bearing down on myself, trying to make myself feel worse than I actually did, thinking through self-flagellation to be in a more fit state to appeal for mercy and forgiveness. From thenceforward, I haven’t bothered. Inasmuch as I have needed to feel badly for doing something in order to recognize that I have gone astray, I have indeed been made to feel badly, but I no longer bear down on myself nor beat myself up for my errors or foibles or transgressions.

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  2. Thank you.

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  3. Log, that was a magnificent post. Great insight. I need to repent. I especially liked the parable of the man with a hot coal. He repented of his anger and the Lord blessed him. So much hope in this idea.

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  4. A beautiful time Log, to take advantage of this redemptive action…”and with that same judgment ye judge, ye shall also be judged.” Thank you for your toil in our behalf.

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  5. The miracle of forgiveness is forgiveness. 🙂

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  6. If there is a loophole in the law, it is this:

    “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

    Joseph Smith: “If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins.”

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    • Oh, I left out a lot of scriptures. “Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven!” “If ye forgive men their trespasses, then will your Father forgive your trespasses!” “After this manner pray ye… forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors!” And so on.

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  7. I like this one: “Ever keep in exercise the principles of mercy and be ready to forgive our brother on the first intimations of repentance and asking forgiveness. And should we even forgive our brother or our enemy before they ask it, our heavenly Father would be equally as merciful unto us.” –JS

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    • I like that too.

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  8. I agree…. we are commanded to forgive and we all know we should. However, there is nothing like being wronged and be in the middle of the pain of it and have some “Wise One” tell you that you need to “Forgive” and quote scripture.

    “Dah… I know that for pete sake… but tell me HOW because I just had my son murdered, or my husband just walked out the door, etc. Most “Wise Ones” need a few lesson in timing.

    For the life of me, I cannot find one definition of forgiveness. It’s a little like giving a definition of “Love” because everyone has their own point of view of what it is and it is usually based on their own experiences. We banter words around like, Pure Love of Christ, Charity and Forgiveness and have no idea what they mean until “Experience,” a great teacher, and the “Spirit” gives us glimpses.

    I believe forgiveness is tied to the “Atonement” just as “Repentance” is. It may or may not be immediate, but a process. One cannot do it alone, even when they want to. I think one key to “Forgiving” is the willingness to do so, which may differ in timing for everyone. End the end, I do not believe you can do it alone with out the mercy of the “Atonement” either to initiate or complete the process.

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    • Here’s how.

      Forgive their debts – stop trying to collect on them. Let it go.

      It does sometimes take time to get to that point. But if it seems important to do, then it might seem important enough to pray for the strength and spiritual capacity to do.

      “But behold I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.”

      Kathryn, all of us must experience betrayal. And all of us must let it go. It is natural to thirst for vengeance, or justice. So here’s what we do.

      “And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.”

      I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt. I’m not saying it’s easy. But if we have a care for their soul, then we must wipe the slate clean, though it seems grievous to so do.

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      • I agree Log…forgiveness is a necessary process in order to receive our own forgiveness as well as salvation. The closet definition I can acknowledge is what you just mentioned…. not to thirst for vengeance, a pound of flesh or harsh justice.

        Often, folks get trapped into thinking that if one forgives, the deed will be forgotten and there will be no justice. As we cannot see what God’s justice will be, sometimes we may feel it’s out duty to keep the fuel of vengeance alive.

        I find it interesting that one who inflicts injury does it again by standing in the way of our own forgiveness and salvation…. if we allow it by not forgiving.

        Again, it is really a matter of trusting God to handle the situation. Only He knows the heart of another and it will be handled only as He sees fit. Sometimes that is a hard one.

        In my own case of forgiving a serious offense, I had to total rely upon the Lord to help me… to soften my heart… to not wish immediate justice… to move on with my life. I remember the day that the incident did not cross my mind, even once. Oh how I rejoiced, because I knew it was the first step. It became a process of dropping the hurtful pieces one at a time. Now, I rarely think about it, but when I do, old stirrings of anger do not exist.

        I’m not sure I’m completely there yet, as I’m not ready to invite the parties to dinner. Or… is that really necessary? I watch these two people inflict bits of hurt to my children… and my protective side wants to do battle…. but even that subsides within a few hours.

        Through this long process, I have come to appreciate the “atonement” not only for my sake but for theirs. It has been a long time coming.

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    • I must stress that I know what it is to desire a pound of flesh – to make my betrayer suffer as I suffer.

      That is exactly what motivates Satan and his angels.

      But even if I were to succeed in inflicting my pains upon those who betrayed me, it would not alleviate my pains, would it?

      And am I an abuser to seek to cause others pain? Am I not here to even lift up my enemies?

      Didn’t Christ lift up his enemies?

      A thought experiment – suppose you are wronged. Suppose you freely forgive the wrong, and do not revile again. Shall the one who wronged you have an accuser for that specific action in the day of judgement?

      If not, then have you not, in suffering the wrong and forgiving him, taken upon you his sin in that thing?

      Is this not precisely what Christ has done for us? When we say he took upon him our sins, what do we mean?

      Might it mean that every sin we commit it is as though we have done it to him?

      Every blow. Every lie. Every betrayal. Every harsh word. Every resentment.

      Mosiah 14
      3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

      4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

      5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

      6 All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.

      7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth.

      8 He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people was he stricken.

      9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no evil, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

      10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

      11 He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

      Alma 7:13
      Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me.

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  9. Log. Joseph saw many things. What, specifically, did the Lord invite y…eh, the man to see?

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    • From what I’m given to understand, the invitation to the man was just that: to see what Joseph saw.

      It’s what I’d like to see, too, even if it is only to gaze into heaven for five minutes.

      As to what I think it is one sees, I think this article explains some of it, as well as D&C 76. I gather, however, from Alma 12:9 that when one is so privileged to behold, one is forbidden from disclosing what one has seen and heard except by reference to the scriptures.

      But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion; which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter; neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; to whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; that through the power and manifestation of the Spirit, while in the flesh, they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.

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