Many years ago during a temple recommend interview the counselor in the Stake Presidency asked if I had any questions. "Yes," I said, "How do you forgive someone?" At first he quoted Christ's invitation to forgive seventy times seven. His answer did not satisfy my need to know how to accomplish it. Finally he told me he didn't really know how, but that it was a journey we must undertake to help ourselves.
I desperately wanted relief from the hurt and pain I was suffering so I determined to begin to figure out how to forgive. Once I realized how often my thoughts were drawn to the event, I began to pray. I prayed that I would be able to put the past where it belonged- in the past. I wanted to feel instead charity towards the individual so I studied 1 Corinthians 13: 4-13 and followed every footnote making notes as I went. Because I opened my heart to be taught I discovered for myself Christ-like attributes that I had only scratched the surface of previously. I also read words of wisdom from Paul who gave me insight into how we think. "When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." I had to ask myself if I was thinking as a child would and the answer was yes.
So i'd like to share some pearls from that long ago effort....
1. If you are overwhelmed with hurt prayer always, always helps.
2. Look on the bright side because the dark side is always negative.
3. Rememeber that all life experience contributes to who we are. Yep, the good and the bad.
4. We decide how we will conduct ourselves having learned from some of those experiences.
5. When we decide to forgive that means we are ready to move forward. In church lingo that means progression.
6. Study the word of God. Keep at it until.
7. Apply what you've learned.
There are a host of other things a person could learn and practice. You get to discover what they are.
Am I really good at this? Nope. I still struggle with forgiveness. Even though I learned and have implemented a lot of these concepts I am not always good at it. It is much easier to just wallow! It is an on-going process but because I've already done some work I know that there is relief. I am grateful for that because it means I am learning how to forgive.
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