- There is not a soul alive who will not, at one time or another, be the victim to someone else’s careless actions, hurtful conduct, or even sinful behavior. Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge. We can forgive, and we can be free!
The atonement of Jesus Christ is key to forgiving and healing when someone hurts us. The atonement is not just for the person that needs to repent. It is for the victim as well and is a key part of the healing process.
- An unforgiving heart harbors so much needless pain. When we apply the healing ointment of the Savior’s Atonement, He will soften our heart and help us to change. He can heal the wounded soul (see Jacob 2:8).
Being able to forgive those that have done us wrong is very hard. But the Lord knows our hurt, our pain, or concerns, and compensates for those and helps us heal.
- I am convinced that most of us want to forgive, but we find it very hard to do. When we have experienced an injustice, we may be quick to say, “That person did wrong. They deserve punishment. Where is the justice?” We mistakenly think that if we forgive, somehow justice will not be served and punishments will be avoided. This simply is not the case. God will mete out a punishment that is fair, for mercy cannot rob justice (see Alma 42:25). God lovingly assures you and me: “Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I will repay. [But let] peace be with you” (D&C 82:23). As victims, if we are faithful, we can take great comfort in knowing that God will compensate us for every injustice we experience.
How do we make this process of forgiving possible? Despite all the hurt, pain, and anger that is normal to feel, we are encouraged to see those that hurt us through God's eyes and see ourselves as the victim through God's eyes as well.
- One key to forgiving others is to try to see them as God sees them. At times, God may part the curtain and bless us with the gift to see into the heart, soul, and spirit of another person who has offended us. This insight may even lead to an overwhelming love for that person. To forgive is not to condone. We do not rationalize bad behavior or allow others to mistreat us because of their struggles, pains, or weaknesses. But we can gain greater understanding and peace when we see with a broader perspective.
The Saviors grace is a perfect example of the way we need to strive to live our lives. In all our actions in life, we need to act with grace because that is how we want to be treated as well. It is hard to forgive, but the Savior is our perfect example of the way that our lives should be conducted.
- In the competitions of life, if we win, let us win with grace. If we lose, let us lose with grace. For if we live with grace toward one another, grace shall be our reward at the last day.
In conclusion, Elder Duncan closes with these comments.
- The Savior’s Atonement is not just for those who need to repent; it is also for those who need to forgive. If you are having trouble forgiving another person or even yourself, ask God to help you. Forgiveness is a glorious, healing principle. We do not need to be a victim twice. We can forgive.
What a great reminder of the way that we should live our lives. Forgiveness is not easy but some key steps to finding peace and rest when others have hurt us lie in our ability to turn to the Savior for rest. I know that holding grudges, resentment, hatred, are all things that will hurt us spiritually. It is through the grace and love of Jesus Christ that we are made whole. But it is a process and requires time but it is what we should all be striving to achieve.