Of You It Is Required To Forgive
This is a re-post. Originally written 12.20.12
I taught the lesson at church on Sunday. I learn, and re-learn all of the time, especially when I am studying. I want to record for me, and share for those who want to hear.
'Of You It Is Required To Forgive' was the title.
When we hear the word forgiveness we seem to automatically think of something we do to and for those who have wronged us.
I felt inspired to focus on the gift of forgiveness given to us... as we seek it, through repentance.
This is a summary of what I believe... a visual... we "Mormon's" call it the Plan Of Salvation, or The Plan of Happiness... (visual courtesy of wikepedia!)
Albert E Bowen said... "There is just one way by which an inspiring son may rise to the same eminence as an illustrious father, and that is through the same process by which that father rose to the high plane he occupies, by the perfection of his own powers, through mastering obstacles, overcoming discouragements, cultivating virtues, and pressing unremittingly towards his goal. There is no other way."
Enter our experience here on earth and it's purposes. We believe that all of us who are here, chose to accept this 'experience'. We find great joy in it too right?
God has told us that his purpose is to 'bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.'
(Moses 1:39) He has also said that '...no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.' (3Nephi 27:19)
This whole 'experience' for us is based on the principle of forgiveness. There is no way we can achieve perfection here, but there is a way for us to continually try... through repentance, followed by forgiveness from the Lord.
'In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins' (Colossians 1:14)
I value these words. Sometimes we are the ones who suffer because of another's sin, but ultimately the sin is not against us, it is against God.
His law has been broken. And, if I am engaged in sin, by judging, seeking vengeance, withholding love, than my sin is inhibiting my own progress, and possibly salvation.
There is such wisdom, then in these words of scripture... Matthew 7: 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
D&C 82:1 Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
They all seem to remind us about ourselves. They bring our thoughts back to us, the ones we can control, the ones we can fix. They remind us of our own imperfection and need for our own forgiveness. Are we seeking that or are we so worried about how we've been wronged that we've forgotten to look inward?
I like the thought that vengeance is of the natural man, and forgiveness is of the spiritual man. That keeps us in check right?
Another thought that resonated with me as I was studying...
'This term may not be popular in this age of license and lack of restraint, but what is needed is self-discipline. Can we imagine the angels or the gods not being in control of themselves in any particular? The question is of course ludicrous. Equally ridiculous is the idea that any of us can rise to the eternal heights without disciplining ourselves and being disciplined by the circumstances of life.
The purity and perfection we seek is unattainable without this subjection of unworthy, ungodlike urges and the corresponding encouragement of their opposites. We certainly cannot expect the rules to be easier for us than for the Son of God, of whom it is recorded:
'Unto all them that obey him' - these are the operative words for us. And obedience always involves self discipline.
So does repentance, which is the way to annul the effects of a previous lack of obedience in one's life..
The dividends from both obedience and repentance amply repay the effort.
(Kimball. Miracle of Forgiveness)
This is all part of my experience here.
My lesson is to forgive, not because I condone what someone else has done, not because I accept an evil action. It is because I have a choice of how to behave when I am feeling something. Pain and heartache, anger, these are natural emotions that we all feel and have. Nothing in them is inherently wrong. It is what they can lead to, that can keep me from my own progress.
Encouraging their opposites, as stated above, is self discipline. Their opposites are love, mercy, kindness, all things of God. All things I need to develop if I want to enter into his presence.
Waiting for an apology before I forgive, only keeps me from my own progress. I am giving control to someone else. They may not even be aware.
My last thought is this. Like it is difficult to be kind to others if our own hearts have holes in them, it is hard to forgive if our own heart has not yet healed.
I believe this is why the Lord beckons us to Him first. In Matthew 14:36,
'And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.'
As long as you are there, conversing with the Lord, asking him to forgive you... go ahead and cry out to him! He can lift the burden of pain and suffering. He will bear that for us.
He can make us whole. As we heal, our hearts are made whole, we can offer forgiveness. We realize that the wrong that was committed is between the offender and his maker. We are free to progress.
This is a topic that has many facets, and could be discussed for hours. These are the things that struck me this time through it, what I needed to hear I guess.
- Reminder that my Savior will heal my aching heart when I turn to Him.
- When I feel whole, I can forgive.
- My forgiveness allows me to love, without hesitation and conditions.
- My judgement, anger, justification are all sin. If I don't repent of them, I don't progress, and all I can control is my own progression.
- My journey here is about my own self discipline, about training myself to be like my Father. I will mess this up! I am so grateful that if I continue to try and do it better, and ask for forgiveness when I fall, he will forgive me.