Recently, I have been learning the true
meaning of forgiveness. I have always
thought that I was good at forgiving…the Lord thought it was time to put me to
There are times in our lives when
someone hurts us. I have discovered
there are different kinds of hurt and some are easier to get over than others.
Obviously, I am sharing this with you
because I was deeply hurt by someone. This individual made some poor choices
which has had an impact on both me and my daughters.
I have been struggling with this issue
for the past few weeks. I hate feeling
sad, hurt, and angry…I have been praying about this…I want to forgive…I want to
feel peace…I need to feel peace! This I know, you cannot have peace when you
At times I have felt like I was over
this…only to have those feelings return again!
Seriously, why can’t I just get over this? I have even thought maybe because I have had
so much hurt this past year I am not as resilient as I could be…maybe I am
tired out emotionally…
Anyway, I have prayed a lot about
this. I have asked God to help me
forgive. I have been searching my heart
A few days ago, while showering, the
place where I receive the most inspiration, I had this scripture come into my
Luke 23:34 -Then said Jesus, Father, forgive
them; for they know not what they do…
My first thought was how can this
person “know not what they do”? Then as
I thought about it some more, I started to analyze the situation. It dawned on me, this person truly may not realize
how much they have hurt me. Sometimes
people are so caught up in worrying about themselves and there wants and needs
that they forget to assess their actions.
In essence, they act without thinking.
They do not think about the impact of their choices on others. So in that sense, they “do not know what they
do” because they are so focused on themselves they do not see what they are
doing to others.
I know there are times when we are
offended by something someone says or does only because we misunderstood them….there
was no malice intended…they have absolutely no clue they have offended you.
There may be many various reasons why
“they know not what they do”. Does it
matter? As I pondered this scripture, I came to a greater realization. Even if a person appears to know what they
did was wrong, would that change my responsibility to forgive them? No. I
would still need to forgive.
So...I started to feel like I had this
conquered. I was finally over this hurt. Then, my bubble was burst. I saw this person and the old feelings
returned again…what…I seriously thought I was done with this.
Back to my knees again. Heavenly Father what is my deal? I don’t want to harbor bad feelings! I need to forgive. As I was sitting in bed after saying my
prayers, I felt impressed to look up forgiveness on the internet.
found an article in the June 2012 Ensign, “Finding Peace Through Forgiveness”, that
specifically addressed some things I needed to hear, “That evening I pondered
something about forgiveness that I had understood in principle but never fully
appreciated: Forgiveness was not primarily about restoring my relationship with
the person who had offended me. Instead, its focus was restoring and improving
my relationship with God. It was about trusting—really trusting—that He would
take care of me and that He hadn’t allowed anything to happen to me that
wouldn’t eventually work out for my benefit. Forgiveness centered on drawing
close to Heavenly Father, understanding the Atonement of Jesus Christ,
and laying everything on the altar—and doing this cheerfully, with confidence
that I was safe in Heavenly Father’s care…”
There were many other things in this
article that touched me, but this stood out the most because I feel like I need
to trust God more (see previous post Trusting God ). If I trusted God enough, I would not feel a
need for retribution. I would know that
God will make everything right. I would
leave this hurt behind me knowing that all will be well.
So, I started to feel like I had this
conquered. I was finally over this
hurt. Then, of course, my bubble was
burst again when I saw the person who had offended me. I started to feel anxiety and
unhappiness. I started to think about
what had happened. Oh brother!
Last night, I started to pray again and
do more soul searching. I woke up in the
early hours worrying about everything…as I was sitting in my bed, a song came
into my mind, “Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to
At first I started to chuckle, I was thinking
where did that come from? I am sitting
here in my bed…I haven’t gone anywhere…I was planning on saying my
prayers. Then I started to think a
little more about the words…remembering there was a phrase about forgiving
others…then I realized that it was Paul prompting me.
I have had some special
answers/promptings that have come from Paul through music. I consider them tender mercies from God. Paul loved music! I know answers that come through music are
from him. In future posts I will share
more experiences I have had through music.
Anyway, I looked the song up on the
internet. These are the words:
Ere you left your room this morning,
Did you think to pray?
In the name of Christ our Savior,
Did you sue for loving favor,
As a shield today?
O how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day;
So when life seems dark and dreary,
Don’t forget to pray.
When you met with great temptation,
Did you think to pray?
By His dying love and merit,
Did you claim the Holy Spirit
As your guide and stay?
When your heart was filled with anger,
Did you think to pray?
Did you plead for grace, my brother,
That you might forgive another
Who had crossed your way?
When sore trials came upon you,
Did you think to pray?
When your soul was bowed in sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?
After I finished reading the lyrics, I
pondered what he was trying to tell me, besides the obvious things-pray...forgive. I kept noticing the words Balm of
Gilead. I had heard those words used
frequently in the past few weeks…I can’t even remember where.
So, of course, I did what I always do,
I looked the words Balm Of Gilead up on the internet. I wanted to understand the significance…since
it was a term I had heard over the years, but never paid much attention to.
In my research, the first talk I came
to was Boyd K. Packer, “The Balm of Gilead”.
The article stated: “The Bible records that in ancient
times there came from Gilead, beyond the Jordan, a substance used to heal and
soothe. It came, perhaps, from a tree or shrub, and was a major commodity of
trade in the ancient world. It was known as the Balm of Gilead. That name
became symbolic for the power to soothe and heal.”
As I continued reading, I knew I was
reading something of great importance. I
was very touched by what I was reading.
I knew that Paul wanted me to read this…that this has some key points to
help me in my journey to forgive.
I would like to share a story from the
article that really made me think:
“If you suffer from worry, from
grief or shame or jealousy or disappointment or envy, from self-recrimination
or self-justification, consider this lesson taught to me many years ago by a
patriarch. He was as saintly a man as I have ever known. He was steady and
serene, with a deep spiritual strength that many drew upon.
He grew up in a little community
with a desire to make something of himself. He struggled to get an education.
He married his sweetheart, and
presently everything was just right. He was well employed, with a bright
future. They were deeply in love, and she was expecting their first child.
The night the baby was to be
born, there were complications. The only doctor was somewhere in the
countryside tending to the sick.
After many hours of labor, the
condition of the mother-to-be became desperate.
Finally the doctor was located.
In the emergency, he acted quickly and soon had things in order. The baby was
born and the crisis, it appeared, was over.
Some days later, the young
mother died from the very infection that the doctor had been treating at
another home that night.
John’s world was shattered.
Everything was not right now; everything was all wrong. He had lost his wife.
He had no way to tend both the baby and his work.
As the weeks wore on, his grief
festered. “That doctor should not be allowed to practice,” he would say. “He
brought that infection to my wife. If he had been careful, she would be alive
He thought of little else, and
in his bitterness, he became threatening. Today, no doubt, he would have been
pressed by many others to file a malpractice suit. And there are lawyers who
would see in his pitiable condition only one ingredient—money!
But that was another day, and
one night a knock came at his door. A little girl said simply, “Daddy wants you
to come over. He wants to talk to you.”
“Daddy” was the stake president.
A grieving, heartbroken young man went to see his spiritual leader.
This spiritual shepherd had been
watching his flock and had something to say to him.
The counsel from that wise
servant was simply, “John, leave it alone. Nothing you do about it will bring
her back. Anything you do will make it worse. John, leave it alone.”
My friend told me then that this
had been his trial—his Gethsemane. How could he leave it alone? Right was
right! A terrible wrong had been committed and somebody must pay for it. It was
a clear case.
But he struggled in agony to get
hold of himself. And finally, he determined that whatever else the issues were,
he should be obedient.
Obedience is powerful spiritual
medicine. It comes close to being a cure-all.
He determined to follow the
counsel of that wise spiritual leader. He would leave it alone.
Then he told me, “I was an old
man before I understood! It was not until I was an old man that I could finally
see a poor country doctor—overworked, underpaid, run ragged from patient to
patient, with little medicine, no hospital, few instruments, struggling to save
lives, and succeeding for the most part.
“He had come in a moment of
crisis, when two lives hung in the balance, and had acted without delay.
“I was an old man,” he repeated,
“before I finally understood! I would have ruined my life,” he said, “and the
lives of others.”
Many times he had thanked the
Lord on his knees for a wise spiritual leader who counseled simply, “John,
leave it alone.”
After I read that story I
remembered something Paul had shared with me right after we first got
married. He told me that he was
struggling with the death of his first wife.
He wanted to know why she suffered from mental illness and why her life
ended the way it did.
Paul told me as he prayed, he
received a very distinct answer. He heard an audible voice say, “Let it go. You
cannot dwell on this. If you do, it will
destroy you.” He said at that point, he
let it go.
I started to cry as I realized what
my sweet husband wants me to know. He
wants me to “let it go”…”leave it alone.” It is time for me to put my trust in God and
forgive. I need to move forward.
Boyd K. Packer said, “Some
frustrations we must endure without really solving the problem. Some things
that ought to be put in order are not put in order because we cannot control
Things we cannot solve, we must survive.
If you resent someone for
something he has done—or failed to do—forget it.
Too often the things we carry
are petty, even stupid. If you are still upset after all these years because
Aunt Clara didn’t come to your wedding reception, why don’t you grow up and
If you brood constantly over a
loss or a past mistake, look ahead—settle it.
We call that forgiveness. Forgiveness
is powerful spiritual medicine. To extend forgiveness that soothing balm, to
those who have offended you is to heal. And, more difficult yet, when the need
is there, forgive yourself!”
So now the journey begins
again…back to forgiving.
I know that it is easy for my mind to wander back to the situation and
rehash it. After all isn’t that why a
person can’t forgive? Our minds go back
to the past and relive and rethink things.
I realize that a big part of success in life is learning how to control
your thoughts. If I can control my thoughts, I can forgive!
past hurts resurface, I am going to redirect my thoughts. I have heard of suggestions to memorize
scriptures, sing a song (of course not out loud if your in public—then again
that could make life interesting), think of a favorite quote…any other
I discussed in a previous post (Staying In the Present), I need to choose to
act and not be acted upon. I need to
stay in the present! Staying in the
present doesn’t mean that I don’t learn from the past. It just means that I don’t dwell on the past.
What I am learning from this
experience is that God, at times, allows us to struggle to forgive someone
because it can make us stronger. When we
are struggling, we tend to be more humble and less prideful; therefore we are
more receptive to growth and learning. Forgiveness
is a process. It is something that
doesn’t just happen over night. I am
learning through prayer and the help of a loving Savior, I am going to do
this! I am going to let it go!
A book that I highly recommend about
forgiveness is called, “Let It Go”, by
Chris Williams. A couple of months ago,
I had the opportunity to talk to Chris…what a great experience!
I would also recommend reading the
articles I referenced in my post. There
is a lot of great information to ponder!