I now attend church with my daughter Emily and my granddaughter Amelia. Before i head of to teach my children i have the chance to sit through the Sacrament meeting with them both. During the sacrament meeting we have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness for past sins, to offer forgiveness to those who have offended us and to partake of the emblems of the Sacrament with clean hands and clean hearts. The final speaker yesterday was speaking on the topic of ‘Forgiveness’.
We are church that teaches forgiveness to the power of 70×70 and also to the fact that the Lord will forgive whom he will forgive but for us we should forgive all men. Yet there are times in my life where forgiving someone else has not been so much of a very long road than a giant mountain covered in jagged shale and me being bare foot and naked. Perhaps that is a slight over statement but perhaps not, because to start with you are not naked you are so weighed down with baggage, carrying someone else’s guilt as if it was your own. The ever recurring song in your head being ‘i did it, i let them do it, it was all my fault’. Even a victim needs to find the courage to forgive another of their sin.
Slight hurts and upsets are annoying and we become irritated and that’s alright but these hurts can and are quickly put down if we allow them to be. Yet there are some hurts that haunt our waking thoughts at times, however as time goes on, they become less so. But faced with the task of climbing a huge mountain of forgiveness in bare feet, there are some things that we need to help us. I am sat here with jumbled thoughts and i am trying to get them into some kind of order, it would be alright if i could just dump them all onto the page and then they would sort themselves, but that is not the way. Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject of ‘Forgiveness.’
1. Pray daily to find a large enough space to drop all the added baggage that you are carrying. Expect it to take some time, especially if you have been carrying it around for many years.
2. Find someone else you can trust, preferably outside your normal circle, who will help you carry the baggage until you are ready to hand it over completely. For me this was a counselor. You will know when you meet that person.
3. Be patient. Anyone who knows me will know that patience is not my middle name. You will have to wait for the aggressor to ask for forgiveness from you.
4. Remember just because you were there it does not mean that you can forgive someone else for something they did not do against you. As you sort through the baggage you have been carrying you will come to clearly know, which part of the sin belongs to you and therefore which part you can forgive. You cannot forgive someone else for something they did not do TO YOU!
5. Saying ‘I Forgive You’ is somewhere in the middle of all this it is not the last step. At this point in my own life i looked up expecting to be at the top of my mountain only to find i had just started climbing.
6. There will come a moment when you will know without any doubt that you have forgiven the other person. For me it took 12 years and happened in the middle of me teaching an adult Sunday school class. The full balance of sin had been paid by and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was at this point that i realised that His Grace is sufficient, up to this point i did not believe that He could ever life the weight off my back and i was finally at the top of my mountain.
7. Of course we may find ourselves climbing many mountains at the same time and we may even find ourselves at the top of a mountain we thought we had left behind. All our lives we may remain a prisoner of someone else’s misdeeds but we have a choice; when we feel overcome with negative thoughts we can tell them to go away.
Remember this –
‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God … having your loins girt about with truth…breastplate of righteousness…gospel of peace…shield of faith…helmet of salvation…sword of the spirit of God… (Ephesians 6:11-18).