If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being. – James E. Faust [April 2007 Conference]
I think it’s probably the wrong way to think, and I could probably chalk it up to a problem with public speaking. but during Fast and Testimony meeting sometimes I think I’ll go up and say something, then someone will say something that seems like a bigger issue then what I might say and I stay in my seat because I don’t want to try and upstage someone elses problems. Yes I know, I shouldn’t even think about it, but it’s just another easy way to keep from going up – though now all my kids seems to think they need to go and my time of sitting on the bench is probably numbered.
I can though find solace through writing. While I may not always be the most elegant writer, or make use of fancy words – it’s always helped me get out what’s stuck in my head. A healing process if you will.
I’m lucky I suppose, I usually have an easy time of forgiving people wrongs – though there have been occasions when it cut deep and it took time to come to terms with and forgive someone. I pride myself on not holding grudges. But recently, something happened. While I won’t go into specifics, suffice it to say it was a doozy.
Agency is the power to think, choose, and act for ourselves. It comes with endless opportunities, accompanied by responsibility and consequences. – Sharon G. Larsen [October 1999 Conference]
What this [event] does do, is offer a great lesson in free agency and the consequences of choice. My wife and I have tried to explain this to our children so that they can see that while we have this awesome gift from God there is also the responsibility and understanding that comes along with those choices. Each one having an effect that we may not see or even think about.
Personally, I think I was protected from this event’s fallout because of how I led my life – but my emotions come from what it does to my children. I’m angry at the effects that it will have on them. It also puts me into positions I don’t feel ready for, as I have to take on more roles. I am now responsible for more than just my own family. But don’t get me wrong – I’m not shying away from this – I’m just overwhelmed and feeling a bit unqualified for the roles I’ve now been pushed into. Like most things, it’ll take some time and I’ll need to lean more the Lord for help.
But what of forgiveness? Is it easy? As one of my new roles, I’ve had to become a great listener, an offerer of support. I listen to the anger and hatred from others and try to convert that into a willingness to forgive and while it doesn’t always work – it has put me more into a better position to forgive in myself. Honestly I don’t like the burden of being upset or hating someone – it’s too much, especially when I have to help others to move through their feelings and emotions. It just seems easier to forgive. I understand it’s not always easy to forgive, and I know it takes time. I’m not here to try and make it out like it’s as easy as flipping a switch or that the pain goes away in an hour. In this instance it was easier for me, but I’ve been through other situations where the pain and anger lasted longer and it took longer for me to forgive. But what is at stake shouldn’t be taken lightly either.
“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” (D&C 64:9–10).
The Lord understands your pain – my pain. As I’ve struggled with knowing what to say to ease the pain for others and help them in their process, Mosiah has words of comfort;
“The Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease” (Mosiah 24:15)
So if you’re struggling with forgiveness for a wrong – unburden yourself. Turn to the Lord and lean on Him to carry you. I testify that your burdens will be made lighter.
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