Saturday, March 10, 2012

"In The Arms Of Our Savior's Forgivness" ~


I have been pondering for sometime thoughts on forgiveness. Through the years I have had many experiences with the word "Forgiveness". Sometimes I have been the one in need of forgiveness for a moment of bad judgement or doing something that would offend my Heavenly Father. However, often it has been an experience where I have needed to forgive another. Then there is another hard step in forgiving oneself. 
A few years ago I had a sweet gentle sister in our church come to me offended over a statement that I had made carelessly about a situation in our church. At first I was shocked. I thought that the concern was rather silly. However, as I sat with her and we went through this event; I discovered that I had indeed said something that deeply hurt her. I was devastated that I had caused her any concern at all. I begged for forgiveness and cried as I tried to explain my position. As we left one another, we hugged and I felt she had forgiven me. I knelt in prayer and asked my Heavenly Father to forgive me, also. I couldn't bare the thought that I had hurt another soul. For a time this incident became a moment to reflect upon  other times when I may have been unkind. After a time, I realized that it was important that I replay these  unforgiving scenes of my life but also not to linger there.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell counseled: "Some of us who would not chastise a neighbor for his frailties have a field day with our own. We should, of course, learn from our mistakes, but without forever studying the instant replays as if there were the game of life itself."
We are required to forgive others and also to forgive ourselves.
In D&C 64:10 the Lord does command us to forgive: "I the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
I have thought deeply about the following scripture found in 3 Nephi 12:23-24.  "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. What a beautiful thought that the Savior will welcome us into the his arms of forgiveness. Elder H. Burke Peterson of the Presiding Bishopric said: " No one can be classed as a true follower of the Savior who is not in the process of removing from his heart and mind every feeling of ill will, bitterness, hatred, envy, or jealousy toward another." (Ensign, November 1983, p. 60).
The Savior warned that "He that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin." (D&C 64:9)
Elder Theodore M Burton said; "I take that to mean it is a greater sin to refuse to forgive a person than it is to commit the sin for which that person was disfellow-shipped or excommunicated."( Ensign, May 1983, p.72.)
I have found that when you have an unforgiving attitude and hold out bitter feelings towards another we end up hurting ourselves more. Karen Burton Mains stated the following in a book entitled, The Key To a Loving Heart: " When our grievance grows to hatred, we become slaves of the very persons we hate. We are bound to them with chains that leave us no peace. Waking, we are haunted by their presence. Our sleeping is shadowed by their deeds. Our memories are clouded by their wrongdoing. Their present actions grind and gore us. We have allowed hatred to become our incarceration."
Elder H. Burke Peterson warned, "The longer the poison of resentment and unforgiveness stays in a body, the greater and longer lasting is it's destructive effect. As long as we blame others for our condition or circumstance and build a wall of self-justiffication around ourselves, our strength will diminish and our power and ability to rise about our situation will fade away. The poison of revenge, or of unforgiving thoughts or attitudes, unless removed, will destroy the soul in which is it is harbored." (Ensign, Novemeber 1983, p. 59.)
In the Book entitled: "In The Arms of His Love"; Steven A. Cramer stated the folowing: "Every person in this planet is capable of weakness and sin. Those who have injured us are vulnerable, imperfect human beings just as we are. God does not demand perfection of us and we have no right to demand perfection of those who hurt us. Remembering this will help us to separate the offense from the offender. It is also helpful to view those who repeatedly hurt us as being handicapped. Wouldn't it be easier to forgive them for hurting us if they were physically crippled or blind? Perhaps they are blind emotionally. Perhaps they can't see how they hurt others. Perhaps, because of unfortunate circumstances in their past, they just don't know any other way of relating to you. For all we know, their unacceptable behavior may be nothing more than a reflection of the way they were injured in  their youth. If we could see into thier hearts as God can, we would understand their deviant behavior and not condemn them for it.")
Sherrie Johnson said, "Only by forgiving and forgetting, letting go of our bitterness and hurt, do we free ourselves to progress. Change of any kind is difficult, but forgiving and forgetting is perhaps the hardest kind of change. This change is beyond your self, but is attainable when you seek and accept the help of Heavenly Father. He can give you the strength you lack. " (Ensign, January 1985, p. 60.)
Remember the one who holds us; paid the price for all sin in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Yes, forgiving others and ourselves is not an easy task. It may be one of the hardest things Christ has asked you to do. However, he will be there to help us. He will welcome us back into his loving arms of forgiveness.

An after thought - Often times when I have a difficult time thinking of something I would like to write a post about; I pray. This is where I was led today.

11 comments:

Marie said...

There are people in my life that I have had to struggle to forgive. It is very difficult at times, but something we must do if we are going to move forward. I have managed to take great strides in that direction, which has been a blessing to me. Holding onto past hurts and grudges hampers our progress. In particular I have struggled with forgiving my children's stepmother for the things she has done and said against me to my children, having caused two of them to turn their backs on me. I struggle to understand how someone who is a mother herself could try to poison such a relationship between a mother and her own children. Perhaps I will never understand. I have come to realize that I can forgive without having to understand the whys and wherefores. It is not an easy thing, but I think I am getting there. I am learning to let go . . .

Debbie said...

i believe it is the memory of the event that restrains our forgiveness. to be forgiven and offer forgiveness, is a beautiful thing!!

Sue said...

Great thoughts on forgiveness. It is truly a gift, to everyone concerned.

=)

Trina said...

I used to have a hard time forgiving myself. A stake president once told me I have a guilt complex that I need to overcome. Then a few years ago I sat in a General Conference session- I wish I could recall the name of the talk or even who gave it, it'd take a little research- but the speaker said when we don't forgive ourselves it's no different than telling the Savior that His suffering and atoning for our sin wasn't good enough. That hit me hard. I'd never thought about it in that light. I've been able really get past much because of this teaching. Thank you for the reminder.

Julie said...

Forgiveness is perhaps the most important thing we do in life as it shows Christ-like charity in a way nothing else can. It is easy to love our friends, much harder to love those who have hurt us. The parable of the debter brings home how important it is to forgive these little things when the Master forgives us everything. How can we ask for complete forgiveness but hold out forgiving another? We will receive the mercy we extend.

Grammy Staffy said...

What a lovely post. I feasted on every word. I am glad that the spirit led you to write this post.

I am in the area until Thursday. Do you have any time that we could get together? I would love to see you.

Hugs, Lura

Diane said...

Beautiful post. Separate the offender from the offence. It's so simple. We ARE all imperfect. Who am I to expect perfection, when I, myself am far from it? Thank you for this wonderful post today.

Darlene said...

It has always been so much easier for me to forgive others than it is to forgive myself. This is a beautiful post LeAnn and I know that Jesus wouldn't like it if he knew that I could not forgive myself. I was holding on to not forgiving myself for years until it was finally brought home to me by one of my wonderful Bishop's. He gave me an amazing talking to about my not accepting the atonement of our Lord by refusing to forgive myself. It has stayed with me always and is so comforting.

Kim said...

Such a great post with such inspiring thoughts on forgiveness. The comments have added a wonderful perspective as well.

One of my favorite paradigm shifting quotes on forgiving is from Debbie Macomber: Forgiveness is not an emotion. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

Stephanie Cozzens said...

A lightgearted response to a serious and beautiful post:

A few weeks ago a sweet 90-year-old sister approached me and asked if she had somehow offended me. As we were in the bathroom and it didn't feel like the right place for a serious conversation (not to mention I was shocked,) I said no and left.

The next week this same sister asked when my baby was due.

I figure we're even now.

Galen Pearl said...

You and I are on the same wavelength this week--forgiveness. I really appreciated the in depth reflection on this topic, which is a challenge for anyone, but in some special ways for a person of faith. Thank you.

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