17 June 2012

The Person in the Mirror

I've been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints my entire life. I've read the Book of Mormon numerous times. I know all the "sunday school" answers to the standard questions that are asked in class. I've read many books on church subjects, and had many experiences and trials in my life that have taught me many things. The 10 Commandments are easy to live, as are most of the other commandments, yet, there is one very important commandment with which I still struggle.


I understand the command given in Doctrine and Covenants 64:10 "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." I know that I must forgive, yet in the midst of the pain and suffering actually forgiving is very difficult. I was reminded of the intense need I had to forgive and move on as I attended my daughters Young Women’s class today.

This video from Mormon Messages was shown at the end of class, and it reminded me that I have always wanted to be the type of person, who, like Chris, had already decided that in a tragedy he would forgive. I feel ashamed that I have held onto my hurt feelings over simple misunderstandings, miscommunications, and deeds  that I considered inappropriate. The grudges that I have held are only hurting me. The people that I have been unable to forgive probably don’t even realize that they have hurt me.
Last summer I took a trip by myself to have time and space to read, to pray, to sleep and to work through my emotions. I plead for the love in my soul to forgive those that I felt had wronged me. I attended the temple and felt like I was able to make a huge amount of progress in my healing and forgiving, but forgiveness isn't a one time event. It isn't something that can be listed on a checklist and marked of as complete. Just as at baptism we are cleansed of all our sins, we are not done. We are going to sin again, it is the way of the natural man. Heavenly Father has a plan though, he has provided us with the weekly ordinance of the sacrament to renew our baptismal covenants and to be clean once again.

So it is with forgiveness. We are going to spend our live surrounded by others who inadvertently in large or small ways will hurt our feelings, innocently, or without even knowing that they have caused any harm. We must choose to forgive, even if those who you must forgive don't ask for forgiveness, or even know that they have hurt you.

Logically I understand that, we must forgive, and the act of forgiving is more for us, than it is for the other person. Where I am really struggling is with healing the hurt within myself, protecting myself from being hurt again, and with learning to trust those who have hurt me. Do I share with them how I am struggling, do I explain to them the pain that they caused me, and how to I find the peace in my heart that is needed to reach out to these people in friendship.
President Uchtdorf in his April 2012 conference address, "The Merciful Obtain Mercy" said:
We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters.
I realized again, that I need to pray and ask God to give me a forgiving heart, to replace the hurt in my heart with love, to help me remember to accept people for who they are and where they are on the path back to our Heavenly Father. I need to develop more charity, more pure love of Christ. I love this quote from the same talk by President Uchtdorf:
The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath from our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us: as flawed and imperfect mortals who have potential and worth far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive each other.
I have allowed my eyes to become clouded, to keep me from seeing others as they truly are, priceless children of Heavenly Father, who have an inner genius, divine nature given them by God. Instead of looking for their inner genius I have been only looking at their flaws. Obviously, "remaineth [in me] the greater sin" (Doctrine & Covenants 64:9). I am the one that needs to repent. I must spend some time looking at my own heart, and forgive myself for holding onto these grudges for so long. I must figure out a way to love my enemies, to show them that they are forgiven and to forgive myself.
I highly recommend President Uchtdorf's talk, "The Merciful Attain Mercy" and I will leave with this final quote from his talk:
When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive—as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness—is the person looking back at us in the mirror

No comments: