Forgive one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Even though He set the perfect example for us and forgives us every single time we make a mistake and repent, forgiving others when we have been hurt may be one of the hardest things that Christ has asked us to do.
I am not perfect at forgiveness, far from it. But what I have learned I treasure.
I have had a few big things in my life where I have had to choose forgiveness. I say choose because forgiveness for deep hurt does not come easy and does require an intentional willingness.
On one occasion I had to forgive a family member who hurt me over and over again and though I tried to address the situation she did not seem to care, or at least it never changed anything. To forgive someone who does not ask for your forgiveness and does not care if you give it is a hard thing. But what I learned is that there seems to be a strange sense of power and feeling of vindication that comes from hashing and rehashing our hurt that in the end only leaves us weak and limited. But when I finally decided I didn’t want to cling to the resentment and hurt anymore, when I was finally willing to give it to God then and only then was I almost immediately able to have peace and let it go, something I could not have done on my own.
Another opportunity to forgive came when I felt angry and hurt that someone I loved deeply was choosing to live contrary to how I thought they should. When I finally humbled myself and went to my Heavenly Father for comfort, I learned that I was the one who needed to repent for trying to control someone else’s choices, which goes against everything God stands for, everything we fought for in our premortal existence. I learned that God loves each of his children deeply and that He has His own individual plan for each of us. I learned that the best and most important thing that I can do is love each of His children for what they are and forgive them for what they are not.
By far the hardest forgiveness lesson I have had to learn is how to forgive myself. For me, it seems much easier to forgive something I had no control over than mistakes I should have known better than to make myself. But again, I have learned some wonderful lesson about how much the Lord loves me personally. As I have sought to forgive when I have fallen short, I have been made aware of hundreds of daily tender mercies in my life that prove God’s existence and His love beyond anything I could ever deny.
Probably the greatest lesson I have learned from my experiences with forgiveness is that Jesus asking us to do so is not a benefit for Him, but for us. He doesn’t’ require it simply because He forgives us, even though that would be enough of a reason. He asks it because He wants us to feel peace. He wants us to feel joy. He wants us to feel love. He wants us to be focused on becoming our highest and best self as we grow closer to Him and our Father in heaven, something that is much harder to do when we are trapped in a cycle of anger and resentment. Forgiveness offers freedom.
I know God lives. I know He loves me. I know that through the atonement we can find forgiveness and peace in our hearts. I know that it is physiologically impossible to forgive ourselves if we cannot forgive others. There is a connection there that our brain is incapable of separating. I know we must practice forgiveness here and now so that when we stand before the judgment bar of God with a perfect recollection of our lives, we will be able to forgive ourselves and be able to ask for God’s forgiveness knowing we did our best to love and let go.
The Primary Manual for Come Follow Me is perfect for families with young children!
Click on the images below to print out these FREE coloring pages from Rising Moon Adventures that I created to go with this lesson:
Primary Insights for Come Follow Me videos –
Song 1: Forgiveness by Matthew West
Song 2: A Heart That Forgives by Kevin LeVar