A Testimony of Forgiveness
Elder Brady Scott
We will always have a mindset of safety and protection for those we love. I have the same mindset, but in sometimes we have to give up what we think is best in order to please our Heavenly Father.” If ye love me keep my commandments.” Obviously we're going to break them every now and again because that's part of our growth. When there are things we can do that we know we should, our Heavenly Father expects us to do them and seek to please him. That's not easy in the slightest, but it is more necessary then anything else we will do.
When Elder Robbins toured the mission a few months back he told us of a story of a young man whose mother and sister were brutally abused physically, and sexually, then murdered. The criminal happened to be an ex-boyfriend or husband. There came a point where this young man showed up to the prison to visit the man who'd killed his family. Elder Robbins said it was just like a movie with the glass between them. One man on each side of glass, with a telephone on either side. The young man said, “I came here to forgive you for what you did.” With tears in his eyes the criminal replied,” how could you forgive me for what I've done?” Elder Robbins illustrated that you will never be happy nor find peace with that hate in your heart. Similar counsel to what Elder Golden gave me personally.
This is all much easier said, than done, however. That's where the scriptures and prayer come in. The process of forgiveness cannot be done by ourselves. This is one of those instances where the enabling power of the atonement comes into our hearts so that we may feel the healing power of the atonement. When I make the decision to forgive, all I can think about is the life of Christ. There is the example of the woman taken in adultery, the prodigal son, etc. The instance where the Savior tells us we should forgive a man 70 times 7, doesn't literally mean you only forgive 490 times. The Savior was trying to make a point that you should always forgive people of their trespasses.
My two favorite examples of forgiveness are when the man pleads for mercy in paying his debt and he's granted forgiveness then he goes to someone who owes him money and the same scenario occurs and he doesn't forgive the man. Then in essence the question is posed how can you expect forgiveness when you can't forgive? The second example is the Savior on the cross. I think about how awful and painful that must have been. He hung from the cross, after suffering for the pains, sicknesses, and sins of the world. He suffered for the second time when he was on the verge of being completely alone, with the spirit was withdrawn from him. He still has strength and charity enough to say "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." In essence saying, “punish me more, for the pain they've already caused me...”
I can promise if you can find it in your heart to forgive , there will be no more pain, no more stress, and a feeling you haven't felt in years because the burdens of the event will be lifted from you. The promise of the savior saying he will take our yoke upon him will become a reality. I know that the Savior died for all of us. That he has a love for everyone that we don't even understand. Even those people who perform the most cruel acts and do the most obscene things. If he didn't love them the same he wouldn't have died for them too. These things must be if we are to progress. That's also why I'm grateful for the representatives of Christ's church because without them this knowledge and revelation wouldn't have been so pertinent or profound to me.
None of the things we are ever asked to go through will be easy. In the end, it will always be worth it. This principle has forever changed my life.
Elder Brady Scott
Bakersfield, California Mission