A forgiving heart; how does one develop a forgiving heart? The Lord has told us clearly in Doctrine and Covenants 64:10 that; "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."
I believe that families are the training ground for learning to have a forgiving heart. We tried to teach our children to not fight and quarrel with one another. This can be a hard job to do.There is a scripture in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 4:14; "And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another; and serve the devil, who is the master of sin...". Now we watch as our children try to teach these concepts to our grandchildren.When you are dealing with an unforgiving attitude; you need to be aware and remember that little eyes are watching you.
I know that through the years there have been many instances where I have had an unforgiving attitude towards someone. I found that I did not give up these feelings easily. I would review the event in my mind many times over. I would remain feeling unkind and hateful towards the one I felt had offended me. The days would go by and I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about how wrong the situation was. Sometimes, I would even have gut wrenching physical pain; sometimes even painful headaches and other physical difficulties. At first I didn't know how to stop this cycle of sin; because it is a sin to feel such anger towards another individual. I wondered how could I get rid of this anger in my soul? I will admit that I have had several such experiences in my life time to learn the lessons of forgiveness. I am still not perfect in forgiving other's. However,I have learned some important steps to take to bring forth the healing gift of forgiveness. I know when I apply the following thoughts, the hateful feelings inside of me will begin to dissipate.
One thing that has helped me through the years is to write down all my feelings about the situation that caused my unforgiving attitude. Basically, once it is on paper it seems to lessen the pain.
Prayer was one of my greatness gifts in the this process. I have many times been on my knees asking my Heavenly Father to grant me peace of mind and a forgiving heart. Prayer is one of the most important sources of healing.
Partaking of the Sacrament was a time of reflection where I would go over in my mind the importance of letting go of the anger and seeking the high ground of forgiving. A time to make a covenant to change my thoughts toward another whom had offended me.
Step back for a moment and put yourself in the offender"s shoes. I found quickly that doing this made a big difference. Perhaps they didn't really mean to hurt you at all. There may have been circumstances in their life that you are not aware of. I guess back to the adage; found in Matthew 7:1; "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
The scriptures are a key source of learning about forgiveness. Pray, ponder and read the stories of forgiveness that you find in the scriptures.
Remember the story of Joseph of Old who forgave his brothers after they had dug a pit, placed him in it and left him to die. I can't even imagine how hard this would have been. Just think these were his own brothers.
As found in the Book of Mormon; the stories of Laman and Lemuel who more than once tried to kill Nephi, their brother. At one point they even tried to kill Lehi, their father. The cycle would begin with their disobedience and then they would become angry and hateful towards Nephi. They would then be caused to be humbled, have remorse and then Nephi would frankly forgive them. Nephi had a forgiving heart. He loved his brothers and would not give up on them. I pray we will never give up on our own families; that we will forgive one another.
I am presently reading a book about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the court hearings that he went through just before his Martyrdom. It was all so unfair; yet the Prophet knew his time had come and he was willing to give up his life for the cause of the Church. He held no malice towards those who were so devious in getting him arrested. The saddest part of all is that the one apostate who caused the uprising was once a councilor to him in the First Presidency.
In The New Testament the last hours of our Savior's life are unimaginable. He was arrested, put on trial, mocked, spit at and beaten. He carried the cross and was placed upon it. The brutality did not end there. Even in his thirst he was given vinegar. Some of the Savior's last words in Luke 23: 34; were; "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Just as we can choose to have a good attitude, choose to be happy; we can choose to forgive.
Elder Osguthorpe in a BYU Conference address in April of 2011 stated the following:
"We all need to develop a forgiving heart so that when someone wrongs us, we can frankly forgive them. No need to think it over. No need to make them feel bad for what they have done. No need to remind them how much they hurt us. Just forgive them. Then we can forget all the pain and move one."
He also stated: "So forgiveness is a choice. It is a choice that leads to a personal characteristic -- a way of being. It's really a choice to follow the Savior. It's a choice to do His Will and not ours. It's a self-forgetful choice. It's a way of getting outside ourselves, going beyond our own weaknesses, and doing what God wants us to do. As difficult as it may be, first we must have a desire to forgive. And when our desire grows to forgive and forget and move forward --that's when we develop a forgiving heart....Each time we forgive, we learn. We give up anger. We give up revenge. And we change. We learn....Nothing can bring us closer to the Lord than forgiving as He forgives. We are learning our way back to the presence of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. We are learning our way back home.
Sister Osguthorpe added;"....It's by forgiving ourselves and others over and over again until our heart is so filled with forgiveness that no one can offend us. No one can hurt us. No one can "act upon us."
Choose today to learn and develop a forgiving heart. Ask your Father and Heaven in prayer to help you have a forgiving heart.
Next time we can tackle how to forgive ourselves. This is another important topic for another day. There is more to this miracle of forgiveness.
Wait for the for the video to come on ~
Take a moment to view this video; it will change forever your thoughts on forgiving ~