Grudges and resentments are like dead weight which drag us down. Forgiveness is like dropping ballast from a balloon, allowing us to soar to new heights.
During the final week of the Savior’s mortal life, Peter asked Him how many times he should forgive someone who wronged him, even suggesting the generous number of seven times. Jesus responded, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Mathew 18:22).
When Nephi tells us that he “did frankly forgive” his brothers after they tied him up and threatened to leave him in the wilderness to die, his actions seem admirable (1 Nephi 7:21). But forgiveness isn’t merely admirable; it is vital for our spiritual health.
Our attitude toward others affects our ability to connect with God. He offers to heal us when we are wounded, but we have to want to be healed. (See Luke 18:41, John 5:6.) An unforgiving person hangs onto their wounds as evidence against their antagonist. They are therefore not willing to let God perform His healing work.
In September 1831, the Lord gave the following warning to members of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio:
There are those who have sought occasion against [Joseph Smith] without cause;
Nevertheless, he has sinned; but verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me and ask forgiveness, who have not sinned unto death.
My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.
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.Doctrine and Covenants 64:6-9
As I’ve thought about this passage today, one word stands out: “remaineth.” Whatever harm others have caused us, it is over. It’s in the past. The damage is done. The only question now is: will we perpetuate the damage and prolong the pain, or will we set it aside and look forward to a brighter future?
Today, I will intentionally let negative things go. I will not allow disappointing or painful experiences to drag me down. I will look to the future with faith, and I will open my heart to God’s healing power.