by Stephanie Aud
Jesus said love everyone. How do we love others? On the outside, love is reflected in how we treat those we encounter, strangers and family alike. On the inside, part of love is forgiveness.
Peter 4:8 "Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins".
Jesus Christ shows his love for us in many ways. One of these is by allowing us access to the Atonement and offering us complete forgiveness for our sins. He only asks that we do the same for others. And promises us that loving others helps us overcome our sins.
Doctrine And Covenants 64:10 "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."
We are commanded to forgive everyone of everything, no matter how severe the offense. The guy who cuts off, we forgive. The impatient husband who doesn't understand why we need an hour to get ready, we forgive. The unkind words from a stranger about our parenting, we forgive. These things can really hurt us. It's hard under the discomfort of hurt and anger to too approach forgiveness
There are many ways to forgive. This is my 5 step method to forgiveness. It’s the pattern of action that works for me. I feel more love, more open to Christ and better able navigate the trials of this life when I am free from the binds of resentment that ensnare me from hanging on to hurt and anger.
Step 1: Acknowledge the feelings of discomfort.
After the incident. It’s important to access and confront your feelings. We may feel hurt; we may feel shame or uncomfortable. Think: "When ___ did ___ I really felt like__."
Step 2: See things as they really are.
What are the circumstances surrounding the event? What do I need to accept about it? Maybe this person shouldn’t have hurt me. Maybe it was inconsiderate. Maybe he or she further insulted me by ignoring the wrong. We can’t change him or her or what occurred. We can’t undo it. We have to move on or stay trapped under these feelings.
Step 3: GO to Jesus!
He is waiting. He already bore your pain. He knows how you feel, and understands better than we can comprehend. He is waiting to wrap his arms around us and comfort us. Pray, meditate, pour your soul out the only source of Peace.
Step 4: Release the feelings
I envision myself opening my heart and allowing the Lord to replace the discomfort and pain with love. I take deep breaths and I let love replace them. Sometimes it only takes moments, but sometimes, there is so much resentment it may take hours or days. In this case I start at step 1, and repeat the pattern until each layer of the wrong is peeled away.
Step 5: LOVE
Sometimes showing love means offering our spouse a hug after a squabble. Sometimes it is accepting an apology or restitution. Sometimes it’s bigger than that. Sometimes we shouldn’t hug the offender and there is no restitution in this world that will make things right again. Sometimes the only loving thing we can do is let it go. When we let it go, we no longer dwell on it. We expect no further compensation and are completely content with how the Lord has resolved things in our own heart. We know this process is complete when we can sincerely say that we hold the offender blameless before God.
Matthew 5:44 "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;"
People are going to disappoint us. They are going to say things they don’t mean that are hurtful. They are going to say things they do mean that are hurtful. They are going to cut line at the grocery store, and almost hit our children as we cross the street. People will be selfish. They will abuse us, and take advantage of us. We do not have to be bound by anger, resentment and pain. There is a way to be free. Forgiving and allowing the love of Christ to replace our hard hearts will allow us to progress in ways we can’t imagine.
The Lord loves us, he forgives us. He provides us more opportunities than are deserved to change, to correct our course, and do better. He asks that we do the same for mankind. There are many ways to go about this. Seek the Lord and let him show you what to forgive and how. But, I know as we open our hearts, and peel back the layers we can be freed from the chains that hold us down by letting go of disappointment and allowing love to grow.