So… every once in a while, I think of a gospel principle that would really help me or someone close to me. If I am being honest, I am much from quick to judge others than I am myself. I can see faults in others from miles away, but fail to see the exact same faults in myself. Ironically enough, I have been thinking about forgiveness for the last few days and thinking of a couple of people that just need to let some things go, you know? When President Uchtdorf’s talk “Lord, Is It I?” came into my remembrance.
A brief refresher:
“It was or beloved Savior’s final night in mortality, the evening before He would offer Himself a ransom for all mankind. As He broke bread with His disciples, He said something that must have filled their hearts with great alarm and deep sadness. “one of you shall betray me,” He told them.
The disciples didn’t question the truth of what He said. Nor did they look around, point to someone else, and ask, “Is it him?” Instead, “they were exceedingly sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I?”
I wonder what each of us would do if we were asked that question by the Savior. Would we look at those around us and say in our hearts, “He’s probably talking about Brother Johnson. I’ve always wondered about him,” or “I’m glad Brother Brown is here. He really needs to hear this message”? Or would we, like those disciples of old, look inward and ask that penetrating question; “Is it I?”
… some are convinced that their busy schedules or unique circumstances make them exempt from the daily acts of devotion and service that would keep them close to the Spirit.
Brethren, none of us like to admit when we are drifting off the right course. Often we try to avoid looking deeply into our souls and confronting our weaknesses, limitations, and fears. Consequently, when we do examine our lives, we look through the filter of biases, excuses, and stories we tell ourselves in order to justify unworthy thoughts and actions.
Brethren, we must put aside our pride, see beyond our vanity, and in humility ask, “Lord, is it I?” And if the Lord’s answer happens to be “Yes, my son, there are things you must improve, things I can help you to overcome,” I pray that we will accept this answer, humbly acknowledge our sins and shortcomings, and then change our ways by becoming better husbands, better fathers, better sons.”
– Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Why thank you for the humble pie, President Uchtdorf. It is delicious. Please, may I have another slice?
D&C 64:9-10 “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”
My natural man is screaming inside. I have to forgive no matter what? No matte the attitude of the wrongdoer? I have to forgive even when the offending party has not apologized, hasn’t begged and groveled at my feet? I must forgive even when my enemy remains indifferent? When my foe continues to hiss and spit hatred or unkind words? I must forgive even when my adversary knowingly and intentionally hurt me knowing full well that he/she was to blame?
Yes. And one step further – if I don’t forgive, the greater sin is on my head. Wow. That is hard.
But, I guess that is the point. Once again we witness the need for opposition in all things. We have to understand the bitter to appreciate the sweet.
It gets better… Forgiving is only the first step. When we finally get around to forgiving others, we must forget it as well. We know that after repentance, the Lord remembers our sins ‘no more.’ Now, we don’t have to send flowers. We don’t have to hold hands or hang out on the weekend. We definitely do not have to invite destructive influences back into our lives. However, we cannot hold onto our negative feelings. Spencer W. Kimball is pretty much the expert on this subject. He has a way of expressing forgiveness with the subtlety of a hot iron pressed firmly to one’s face. He said: “Many people, when brought to a reconciliation with others, say that they forgive, but they continue to hold malice, continue to suspect the other party, continue to disbelieve the other’s sincerity. This is sin”
I know that I have made many, many mistakes. I have hurt others, and at times I knew that I hurt them, I wanted to. I also know, that I am sorry, and I want them to forgive and forget and much as I want to forget. There cannot be a double standard. I cannot seek mercy and forgiveness of others and look forward to the suffering of those who have hurt me. I cannot feel the need to withdraw the same level of sympathy that I myself request of so many others.
We can only see and hear the actions and words of others. We do not know the thoughts, intents, or circumstances of anyone else. That being said, even when we know that someone has intentionally hurt us, we need to give him or her the benefit of the doubt and know that they can change – just like we all can. I know that I am not the same person that I once was.
WE need to become as little children. How often has a child come to you in tears, hurt by another, only to be happily playing alongside the same person minutes later as if nothing has ever happened? It’s too bad we learn how to hold grudges.
Matthew 5:43-45: “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of the Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
3 Nephi 27:27: “Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.”