Monday, March 30, 2009

Forgivness or Revenge?

My thoughts have been dominated by the question of what it means to forgive and how does a person forgive after something hurtful has been done. I know that most people have had personal experience with this in there lives, each one of us could list pages of times when a family member a friend or a co-worker has said or done something that has been hurtful. I know I have witnessed things being said and done to people that I know and love and I have wondered how anyone could get past that! I am experiencing something right now that has brought this question right to the front of the mind and caused me to question what I thought I knew about forgiveness.

I want to tell a story about my Dad. My Dad is a Hero to me in so many ways,most of which I'm sure he knows nothing about. I remember once when I was in Jr high school my Dad had a disagreement with a guy he was working with it was over money or something, but I remember my Dad walking away from the situation in an effort to save a relationship and show forgiveness. I remember felling mad at my Dad for just walking away, for not standing in there and fighting for what was his. I know that I was young and really didn't have the whole story nor did I really know the circumstances but my feelings were real. Another story about my Dad was told to me by him and my Mom and older brothers, it somewhat of a legend about my Dad. When he was younger him and a Friend Teamed up and formed a company that produced and sold a concrete additive chemical. My Dad had come up with the formula while working with his Dad and Grandpa at the Family Batch plant in Cove Utah. He asked his friend to help him with the business idea, which he did. I don,t know the story of what happened with that business all I know is that it turned bad. It got to the point that there friendship was being damaged and damaged badly. The decision was made to take it to the church priesthood leadership and ask them to act as arbiters in the situation. The meeting with the church happened and it was determined that my Dad was right, but his friend was unwilling to accept the decision that was made and said he was going to take it to court. My Dad for reasons that are hard for me to understand decided to sell his portion of the company to his friend for one dollar. This company went on to make millions. When I was young it would make me mad to know my Dad passed up millions for the sake of forgiveness and reconciliation.

So here I am today, a grown man and someone that has been taught the gospel and the importance of forgiveness but I still struggle with it. I have a hard time letting things go. My Dad says that is why he calls me a bani rooster (what ever that is?) because I always rise to challenge anyone and anything in front of me. At times this has caused a lot more heartache and despair but for some reason I still do it no matter the cost. Why is that I have such a hard time forgiving those that have wronged me or should I say those that I perceived to have wronged me. The Savior said in D&C 64;10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. and in D&C 82: 1 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.

Right now today I am struggling with forgiveness. I want to forgive and I know it is something that I have to do but when someone does something to me or to my wife something inside of me wants to stand and fight. Here's the skinny I have sinned many times in my life and have offended many more then I would want any of you guys to know and I also know that I have been forgiven many times. My Savior loves me enough to take all the dumb things that I have done upon himself and I am eternally grateful. How Do I learn to Be like my Savior and just forgive and even better how do I show an increase of love after I have forgiven. I am a work in progress, I have a long way to go and the reason I put this out there is to first of all let you guys in on some the things that I think about and also to learn. I could really use help right now. I love my Savior and I want to do his will I think I just need some help.



  1. Dude, I think I so get what you are saying. I have had similar experiences. I sometimes feel like I still haven't walked away from those issues. The good news is, I am committed to staying by the decisions I have made regarding forgiveness. I have a little saying I like to remember, especially if it is dealing with temporal things. "It ain't nothin' but a thing." Things come and go, but the relationships we develop here can be taken with us.

    We also were reading in Alma 41 tonight, and Alma taught one of the most important principles we can learn in this life. Corianton had great difficulty understanding the state of our spirits after this life and took the viewpoint that it would be easier to repent after this life. But the essence of our lives will continue on with us. If we treat others poorly and can't forgive then we cannot expect that to change after this life. Therefore we have to practice the act of forgiving until we get it right and then keep on going.

    The Lord commanded us to forgive everyone, not just who we determine worthy of forgiveness.

    Sorry to sound preachy, but as I get older, I realize if I don't continue to practice this principle, I may never be able to develop forgiveness in my heart.

    I also realized after reading that chapter tonight, that what I send around will eventually come back around to me. So it's my choice, will I spread forgiveness, or allow hate and vengeance to grow in me until it destroys me. Thanks for letting me post. God bless you.

  2. Evan, thanks for your response. I don't think I was real clear on what it is that has brought these feelings to the surface. It is nothing tangible but words and accusations that have been hurled at my wife,which really gets those defense nerves charged. I want to read this chapter in Alma with this perspective in mind. Its funny how words, even words that are not true can hurt us. Thanks again for preaching!

  3. Even if it was just words, It ain't nothin' but a thing. We have a lot of that cr#$ going around the office right now, and it is interesting to see how people change. We have two women who just retired and they are the two most bitter people I have ever met. They haven't practiced moving on from what others have said to them or about them and it has almost destroyed them. As a matter of fact, one lady is retiring six years before she wanted to because she couldn't let go. It is an absolutely devastating situation. The other's health became so bad as a result of holding on to the hate she had to retire. Let me add one more thing, it is even more difficult to let go if family members say it. I still struggle with things that happened decades ago with my siblings and parents. Luckily, I continue to progress, though slowly.

    BTW what a great idea for a blog. Mine is somewhat on a more philisophical note rather than a spiritual one. Kudos to my favorite cousin.

  4. Eric,

    No words could ever fully express how your thoughts on forgiveness have helped me personally. I think the hardest part is not forgiving ourselves, we hold on to things for so long and damage our own spiritual growth in the process.

    Upon reading the scriptures you mentioned and taking a journey through the cross references I felt something tonight that I would like to share.

    Knowing the Atonement to be real, that it offers peace and forgiveness for our trespasses. It also offers it for those that have trespassed against us as well. The reason why the Lord says that it is required of us to forgive is because if we do not, then we are basically saying to our Savior, "Yes, you Atoned for my sins, and for the sins against me, BUT you did not spill enough blood for THAT sin, so I will not forgive."

    This perspective, I believe will alter my life. Thank you for your post. You have helped me see something within myself I have not, up until this point, been able or ready to do so.


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  6. Eric I am proud of you as a son, as good husband and as a father and as a brother in the learning process that we in life have all engaged. The process that we all go through to transfer the inequities of our own life to a willing Savior is the purpose of our existence here on earth. We are nothing without Him. Our very eternal existence with Him depends on how well we learn the process. It seems that we are required to learn the same lesson over and over in different circumstances. I find that the constant challenge has become my blessing. The quicker I learn the process of transferring my burden to Him the more I feel of His love for me. Forgiving others is all about me and my relationship with others. Others bless me with the opportunity to take my inequities in a relationship to my Savior. I can do nothing except set an example either good or bad of how well I show the Light that is trying to school me through a given challenge or opportunity. He is always there willing to school us if we choose to place the burden with Him and know without wavering that He can heal our heart. He tells us He will have a disciplined people and I find that I plead with Him for that discipline because I want to be counted as one of His sons. I rejoice in the realization of my nothingness compared to the grace and healing that He has shown me. I like you continue the learning process on a daily basis, some days I learn quickly other days I learn slowly. I know from experience that I do not like the gall of bitterness cankering my soul. Sometimes I do not even realize that it is there other times I think I have got rid of it and it will raise its ugly head again. As soon I realize that bitterness is in me I must return to the process of giving that up to He who can heal the scar. I have learned it is my choice how soon I place the burden with Him who is eager to take my burdens. Forgive and be forgiven is my choice. I thank our Savior for His atoning sacrifice for if I will repent and place my burden with Him He will forgive me as often as it takes to be schooled. I renew this via covenant each week if I will partake of the Sacrament properly. I am thankful that he has given me a lifetime to learn the forgiveness process. I just hope that I can learn in that much time. He has told me to follow his example, “go and do likewise”.