Two weeks ago was our Stake Conference. I am glad that I wrote down the few thoughts that I did because it seems a distant memory. I have enough problems with remembering what happened a couple of hours ago. I don’t think that it is because the early stages of dementia are setting in. I think my brain doesn’t always store data that I deem trivial or unimportant. Like when my husband came home last night and handed me the keys. A short while later my daughter wanted to take the car and asked me where the keys were and I told her to ask her dad because he was the last one to drive the car. I was so certain that I didn’t have the keys that I barely checked my pockets for them. So a “high and low” search ensued, resulting in no one discovering the whereabouts of the keys. It wasn’t until later when I was emptying my OTHER pocket that I found them. I was tempted to intentionally “lose” them and then later discover them (where I had hidden them, of course), but I resisted the temptation and fessed up.
This is not to say that I don’t take the talks and subject matter that was taught at Stake Conference as trivial or unimportant. But without a written trigger word or phrase, it is not always easy to recall all of the precise messages given. So writing down concepts or principles can at least help in the remembering process.
One of the ideas that I wrote down was: bearing one another’s burdens through forgiveness. Whenever I have heard the phrase before, “Bear one another’s burdens”, I always thought of it as being a good visiting teacher, neighbor or friend…being an arm to lean on, offering a listening ear or helping a friend out in a time of trials. But with the added words “through forgiveness”, this adds a new element to the meaning. What forgiveness is this talking about? We seek forgiveness from our Heavenly Father when we repent. It is a whole other story when someone has offended us. I know that we are all imperfect, we all make mistakes. This is a part of the growing process, of exercising our free agency. That is what we work on as part of our mortal existence. It is one of the reasons that the Atonement was so necessary, because of the healing effect of receiving forgiveness.
I know the relief I feel when I have offended someone, apologized and received their forgiveness. The offense isn’t intentional. At least at this point in my life I do not TRY to hurt someone. But even if they perceive my actions as an offense, that is painful to face on my part since it is something that I try not to do. But with their forgiveness comes a great release of the guilt that comes from causing another pain.
Now there are those that intentionally do harm to others. Do I forgive them when they don’t apologize or feel badly about their actions? Here is what the Savior has to say about that. In D & C 64:10 it reads:
10. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
This statement doesn’t have a list of exceptions. When we forgive someone, that doesn’t mean that God will automatically forgive them. They still have to repent. But I truly believe that letting go of the emotions that come from offense towards us is part of the healing promise of the Atonement. It allows us to move onward, and not stagnate in a state of pain and anguish, unable to progress. The whole point of our coming here to this mortal state is to get a body, learn from opposition, be proactive in our development and come to rely on the Lord for help. There is a lot involved with the consequences of sin and I can’t be the judge of how each individual deals with the circumstances in their life. Forgiveness is a process – each person has to deal with it in their own way. Sometimes the offense is more serious than others. But it would not be wise to let another’s offense toward me hinder my progression. Nor would I want to slow another’s progression by holding a grudge.
So the with that complete statement – bear one another’s burdens through forgiveness – I have found another way to help someone along their way. I will leave the judgment to a much wiser Heavenly Father and my Savior, who has already paid the price and suffered for each imperfect action and the sorrow we cause to others.
Tags: Salt Lake Temple