“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” D&C 64:10
Age does something to a man. It seems to make him more aware of the need for kindness and goodness and forbearance. He wishes and prays that men might live together in peace without war and contention, argument and conflict. He grows increasingly aware of the meaning of the great Atonement of the Redeemer, of the depth of His sacrifice, and of gratitude to the Son of God, who gave His life that we might live.
I wish today to speak of forgiveness. I think it may be the greatest virtue on earth, and certainly the most needed. There is so much of meanness and abuse, of intolerance and hatred. There is so great a need for repentance and forgiveness. It is the great principle emphasized in all of scripture, both ancient and modern.
–President Gordon B. Hinckley (Oct 2005)
To forgive is to “cease to feel resentment against an enemy or a claim to requital for insult.” When it is put into this context, it seems so much simpler to forgive. We determine to let go of any feelings of resentment or of a belief that we have a right to be compensated or to have some form of retaliation take place to make things right. We determine that we are going to give this burden of pain, sorrow, anguish or even loss to who it belongs to, to the One who paid for it already, on His knees, on a mount full of olive trees.
When we do not forgive ourselves or others, we are denying the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we are saying that He has not paid enough for the sins of the one we refuse to forgive. We are denying the atonement and taking upon their sins and ours upon ourselves.
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Our Father in Heaven forgives us based upon the life and sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ, upon His merit, and not our own. Because of the high cost of this sacrifice, we should be much tenderer with one another, and forgiving, because He has already paid the price of what has occurred, what is presently occurring and what will yet occur. Forgiving does not mean that we forget the lessons that can be learned, including when to withhold trust, but it means to give that burden away so that its chains of bitterness, pain and sorrow cannot hold you.
When we forgive others we are truly free. We are free to love more, to see each other as Christ sees us, and to develop a better relationship with Christ. When we acknowledge that He has given all and paid for all, we come to know Him and love Him. We heed his call that beckons us to come unto Him, all of us who are heavy laden, and He will give us rest. Rest, from the burden and stress from carrying the sins of others and ourselves that He already offered to carry for us. When we accomplish this, we can feel his enveloping love as He says to each of us,
“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.” D&C 82:1
“Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice.” D&C 110:5
Image: Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery – LDS Media Library