And Become Whole.
Speaking at a conference with the theme “Becoming A Zion People” my focus was Forgiving the Unforgivable.
You can hear the 20 minute talk right now – or just read the main points below.
Click to listen Forgiving The Unforgivable
There are acts that seem truly unforgivable – the horrifically abused child, the tortured prisoner. We’ll be talking about that kind of unforgivable event but first, let’s focus on the not so horrific things we hold on to.
Can you imagine heaven filled with wound-nursing, grudge-holding, vengeful people? Would it be heaven if it was filled with people who weren’t on speaking terms?
God tells us point blank that we have to give up our unforgiving natures. (To be forgiven we must forgive.) There are two types – the wounded victim (I can forgive but I can’t forget) and the vengeful tyrant (I don’t get mad I get even.)
What God Won’t Ask At The Judgment Bar
My mother, an oldest daughter, can be extremely critical in her desire to help me become better. I had learned to ignore most of her comments but whenever she came to visit there would come a time when her “helpful advice” would offend me enough that I withdrew from her emotionally. Wanting to avoid that on a visit years ago I went to God asking how to deal with her unloving and critical nature. He said, “You know Margaret, when you’re standing before me at the judgment bar, I’m not going to ask how well your mother loved you.” Oh.
It isn’t about how she was treating me but how I was treating her. I’ve used that a lot. Like this. “You know Margaret, when you’re standing before me at the judgment bar I’m not going to ask how well ____________ (pick one: your visiting teacher, bishop, relief society president, spouse,co-worker, neighbor) __________________ (pick another one: treated, loved, served, reached out to ) you.
You might think about that as you scrutinize that grudge you’ve been nursing for far too long.
What if you’re the one a person won’t forgive?
You’ve apologized. Maybe more than once. You’ve reached out, you’ve tried to make amends. And nothing. The cold shoulder. Now what?
Here’s the answer from the story of the Prodigal son. In the story of the prodigal son the father forgives his wayward and repentant son but the older jealous brother does not.
“Now the returning prodigal son had a chance to practice the same forgiving and accepting attitude toward his jealous brother that he was experiencing from his father. Those who [repent] need a forgiving attitude toward others’ faults, or complete repentance is not possible.
If we want the Lord and others to forgive our faults, we must be forgiving of others. Those who [repent] must not be judgmental, but must remember that none of us is perfect either.” (Robert D. Hales General Conference, April 1987)
How can we become willing to forgive?
Why does God require us to forgive to be forgiven? Because He’s trying to give us a gift and we’re refusing it. To refuse to forgive is to reject the atonement of Jesus Christ and it’s healing power in order to hold onto our grievances.
THIS IS KEY! Read Why We Need Christ or How The Atonement Is Like A Dollar
Christ’s atonement overrules the law of karma – he grabs that boomerang of “what goes around, comes around” out of the air, healing the intended victim and preventing further damage to the one who threw it – if people accept him.
How much did He suffer? And why? In the garden, blood came from every pore – because of his “anguish for the wickedness and abominations of his people.” Mosiah 3:7
This is the question: Do you want to stay the small, bitter petty vengeful creature you are? Or become the joyful, whole child of God you can be?
Even when we want to forgive, and do, we often continue to suffer.
It has been thirty years since the man broke into our home and assaulted our twelve year old daughter as we slept unaware. One son still wakes with night terrors. Another daughter slept behind the recliner in the living room when her husband was out of town. There is no animosity or lack of forgiveness but there is still fear and pain.
Because we haven’t accepted, looked for or asked for the healing that is promised.
We can be made whole! That is what Christ promised. The Greek word in the New Testament that Christ used when referring to the woman who touched his robe and was physically healed is the same word he used when he told the tenth leper, the grateful one, that he had been made whole. It means much more than physical healing. It means to be saved, rescued from danger or destruction, to have salvation. To be spiritually whole as well as physically healed.
The Three Promises
1.He will turn all things to our good “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) The story Purple from my book ‘In His Footsteps”
2. He can and does heal and nurture us (Alma 7:11-12)
3. We can get wisdom about these incidents by asking for it (James 1:5) What kind of wisdom? Are you at fault in any way? How can you be healed? Be specific. ie “I’m afraid in my own home.. What can I do?”
What are the next steps?
1. Forgive another
2. Apologize to the person for being unforgiving whether or not they asked for your forgiveness (If you need help, read the story “Forgiveness” in my book In His Footsteps) See the article below on how to make a sincere and true apology.
3. Accept the healing Christ offers you to be made whole.
Now please watch the video of Christ below. As you do reflect on the spiritual healing he promises along with the physical.
- Why We Need Christ or How The Atonement Is Like A Dollar
- An interview with Eva Kor, central character in the documentary “Forgiving Mengele”
- Spiritual and Emotional Healing Through Forgiveness
- From Other Sites
How to say Sorry and to teach your children the same