May 29, 2016

Latter Day Saint: Commanded To Forgive

 Must We Forgive Those Who Harm Us And Is Forgiveness The Same As Trust? Quotes

The quotes below have brought me comfort. At first, I honestly didn't even know what the word "forgive" really meant, despite hearing the word so often growing up.  I think it's important to remember that forgiveness doesn't have a timetable. There's no allotted time ---- "Oh, your husband cheated on you? You have 6 months to forgive"---- ha. No no it doesn't work like that.

Sometimes forgiveness comes in baby steps, bit by bit. The more we learn, the more we are able to forgive. It doesn't mean you won't ever grieve, mourn, or feel heartache. Even God feels these emotions. Nor does it mean you won't still feel trauma. These are all natural and normal responses.

Forgiveness means you no longer let the offender control your life. You no longer tolerate evil. You no longer want revenge. You no longer blame them. You no longer are full of anger and rage (The negative toxic anger, not the healthy positive anger)

If it takes you 10 years to forgive, that's OK. Its just a matter of what you are ready for, or what you are needing in your life. YOU CANNOT FORCE FORGIVENESS! I fully believe forgiveness will come on its own the closer to Christ we become. The more we know Him, the more we naturally want to BE like Him.

We must love and accept ourselves WHEREVER we are at. Sometimes, not packing up and running far far away never to be seen again is the best we can do in the moment. And for that, I applaud you. ❤ Although, anyone up for taking a year long vacation? Haha jk. .....but no really....

Here are a few definitions from the dictionary (oh you know I had to look in the dictionary):

    -to give up all claim on account of;  remit (adebt, obligation, etc.).
    -to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
    -to relent in being angry or in wishing to exact punishment for
    -to stop blaming
    -to stop requiring payment of

 "To condone an offense is to overlook or disregard a harmful action without protesting or expressing disapproval. Abuse can never be condoned, it needs to be prevented and stopped. But forgiveness is not about overlooking, endorsing, or excusing an offense. It is not about accepting the unacceptable. Forgiveness is about releasing yourself from destructive emotions and a hurtful past. It is not about the offender, it is about yourself. You can forgive the abuser without condoning the abuse. The past does matter and it may make sense never to forget an outrage. Remembering may not be easy, but forgetting may be impossible" - Church Quotes:

Elder David E Sorenson:
"I would like to make it clear that forgiveness of sins should not be confused with tolerating evil. In fact, in the Joseph Smith Translation, the Lord said, “Judge righteous judgment.”  The Savior asks us to forsake and combat evil in all its forms, and although we must forgive a neighbor who injures us, we should still work constructively to prevent that injury from being repeated. A woman who is abused should not seek revenge, but neither should she feel that she cannot take steps to prevent further abuse. A businessperson treated unfairly in a transaction should not hate the person who was dishonest but could take appropriate steps to remedy the wrong. Forgiveness does not require us to accept or tolerate evil. It does not require us to ignore the wrong that we see in the world around us or in our own lives."

Sister Aileen H. Clyde, Ensign:
"If charity is not always quick to our understanding, it may occasionally be quick to our misunderstanding. It is not charity or kindness to endure any type of abuse or unrighteousness that may be inflicted on us by others. God’s commandment that as we love him we must respect ourselves suggests we must not accept disrespect from others. It is not charity to let another repeatedly deny our divine nature and agency. It is not charity to bow down in despair and helplessness. That kind of suffering should be ended, and that is very difficult to do alone. "

Elder James M Harper:
"What does forgiveness mean? Does forgiving mean that we forget the offense? No. Yet the adage “Forgive and forget” is frequently heard in our culture. In fact, it may be that our beliefs about forgetting sometimes get in the way of forgiving. Daniel Wegner, a psychologist, has conducted research on persistent thought. He had undergraduate students imagine a white bear. Then he told them to try not to think about the white bear. Each time they thought of the white bear, they were to ring a bell. The more students tried not to think about the bear, the more they rang the bell (see Wegner, D., White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts: Suppression, Obsession, and the Psychology of Mental Control [New York: Guilford, 1994]). Have you tried to put some unwanted event out of your mind, only to find that your thoughts were even more filled with the event? It is possible that over time our memory of a hurtful event may fade, but it is not necessary for us to lose our memory of an event to transform our hearts to forgiveness. 
But forgiveness means that we are able to put the offense in broad perspective with the rest of our life. Certainly all of us are much more than simply someone who has been hurt. There are many more events in our lives than hurtful ones. When we become forgiving, we are not obsessed with thinking about the offense all the time. Yes, we can remember it, but we are not obsessed with it, and it does not consume our emotional energy. Thoughts and feelings about it do not distract us from doing other important things. It means we do not spend time harboring fantasies of revenge, wishing another would suffer as much as we have. It means that we escape from becoming a cynic about the world and our relationships. It means that we become less focused on blame and judgment and more focused on transforming our own heart. Forgiveness means that we develop a mature understanding of what happened and leave punishment and judgment to a wise Heavenly Father."-

Elder Steve F Gilliland:
Forgiveness and Trust-
"Forgiveness and trust are not synonymous. We are required to forgive everyone but counseled to be cautious in placing our trust in others. Trust places a responsibility in people that they may not be ready to handle. Trust must be earned. I can forgive a child’s stealing my money but still limit access to my wallet until I feel he or she can handle the temptation to steal."-

Elder Richard Miller:
"Now don’t misunderstand. There are situations where forgiveness does not mean staying in a relationship that is abusive or dangerous. There are some scenarios where divorce may be the proper choice. But even in these cases, the Atonement can bring personal healing"-

Elder James R. Rasband:
"We may think that forgiveness requires us to let mercy rob justice. It does not. Forgiveness does not require us to give up our right to restitution. It simply requires that we look to a different source. The non-judgmental worldly phrases “don’t worry about it” and “it’s no big deal” are not illustrations of the doctrine of forgiveness. On the contrary, when a person sins against us, it can be a very big deal.10The point is that the Atonement is very big compensation that can take care of very big harms. Forgiveness doesn’t mean minimizing the sin; it means maximizing our faith in the Atonement.

My greatest concern is that if we wrongly believe forgiveness requires us to minimize the harms we suffer, this mistaken belief will be a barrier to developing a forgiving heart. It is okay to recognize how grave a sin is and to demand our right to justice—if our recognition triggers gratitude for the Atonement. Indeed, the greater the sin against us—the greater the harm we suffer—the more we should value the Atonement.

There is little value in claiming that a wrong against us is slight. Instead, if we give the wrong its full weight, we are better able to give the Lord a full measure of gratitude for making us whole.

In sum, the principle of forgiveness does not require that we give up our right to justice or that we give up our right to restitution. Christ answers the demands of the law for our sins and for the sins of others. We just have to be willing to accept that He has the power to do so."-

Elder Benjamin F. Call, Ensign:
"Understand what forgiveness is...It is to let go of blame for a past hurt. It is to release a great burden. It is to move ahead with life.

In his last general conference address, President James E. Faust (1920–2007), cited this definition of forgiveness: “Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.”

Understand what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness does not require condoning a wrong, nor does it require allowing a harmful behavior, such as an abusive relationship, to continue. Also, forgiveness is not forgetting—if the offense wounded you enough to require forgiveness, you will likely have a memory of it. As author Lewis B. Smedes explained, “Forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”

Pain, disappointment, and injustice touch every life, often wounding tender hearts. At such times it may seem natural to blame another for things that have gone wrong. When we seek to place blame, however, we actually magnify our pain. This is because the act of blaming focuses our minds and hearts on the past, causing us to relive the hurt and harbor emotional and spiritual injuries that might otherwise heal. Resisting the urge to place blame is key to our ability to forgive.

Elder Hugh W. Pinnock (1934–2000) of the Seventy taught: “Of course, heartache and pain can be spilled upon us by dishonest, manipulative, or unkind people. Accidents happen that can inflict terrible pain and sometimes lifetime disability. But to judge, blame, and not forgive always intensifies the problem. It pushes healing further into the future.”

In order to fully heal, we need to accept responsibility for our reaction to whatever happens. Taking responsibility for the condition of our hearts allows us to regain control of our lives. Although we cannot always control what happens to us, we can always choose our response. Herein lies the power of our agency.
Be patient. Forgiving when your pain is great may take time. A woman who was recovering from a painful divorce received this wise counsel from her bishop: “Keep a place in your heart for forgiveness, and when it comes, welcome it in.” You can make room for forgiveness through earnest prayer, study, and contemplation. Feasting upon the words of Christ daily will also help you draw closer to Him and will bring great healing power into your life.

Trust that God will be the perfect Judge. The Savior said, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10). As we forgive, we must have enough faith to allow Christ’s judgment to be judgment enough. He will bring both mercy to the humble and justice to the wicked. Rest assured that God’s judgment will be thorough and fair.

Cast your burden on the Lord. Christ beckons, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). If you allow Him, He can make your burden light."-

Elder Steve F. Gilliland:
"I am not saying we should let people take advantage of us. There are times when our most helpful reaction is to be honest with the individual and say, “That remark hurt my feelings,” or, “It hurt me when you did this.” In most cases one should follow the Savior’s injunction to discuss the issue privately with the individual (see D&C 42:88;Matt. 18:15). In serious cases a person may need to be dealt with in the civil courts and sometimes in Church disciplinary councils (see D&C 42:89). Having served as a bishop and on a number of high councils, I have found that Church disciplinary councils are councils of love and forgiveness, even when disciplinary action is taken (see D&C 64:12–13).
One who is forgiving does not seek revenge but may seek to help a person see the social and spiritual consequences of certain actions. To let someone continually offend you without telling him or her is not fair to that person, especially if it has a negative effect on your relationship. For example, to let someone steal from you without any negative consequences—no matter how much you feel sorry for the person—is just encouraging social and spiritual decay.

Does Forgiving Mean Forgetting?
Some people say that to completely forgive someone we must forget what transpired. I am not convinced this is possible, short of brain surgery.

William George Jordan said: “We cannot forget by tryingintensely to forget—this merely deepens and gives new vitality to the memory. True forgetting really means finer memory; it is displacing one memory by another … so that the first is weakened, neutralized, and faded out like a well-treated ink stain. … Time helps wonderfully.”-

Elder D Chad Richardson:
"Forgiving a sin does not mean excusing it. When we forgive a sin, we neither say it is OK nor that payment will not be required."-

Questions & Answers:
"Try to forgive him, no matter how long it takes. Also remember that forgiveness and trust are separate. By his actions your brother can earn your trust back."-

Ensign: How can marriage partners exercise the forgiveness the gospel requires and yet avoid falling into the repeating cycle of abuse?

Anne Horton: "Just as repentance is a process, so is forgiveness. Unfortunately many people think that forgiving equals forgetting and, therefore, are afraid forgiveness  makes them vulnerable. But while the Lord commands us to forgive, He doesn’t tell us to forget any lessons we have learned or demand that we trust an abuser. We can forgive someone without putting ourselves in the position to be victimized again. Love can be achieved and so can forgiveness, but we still must protect ourselves."

John Nelson: "We need to make it very clear that victims do not need to ask for forgiveness for something they haven’t done. No one deserves to be a victim of abuse. "

LDS Quotes on Forgiving YOURSELF

Elder President Howard W. Hunter:
“It has always struck me as being sad that those among us who would not think of reprimanding our neighbor, much less a total stranger, for mistakes that have been made or weaknesses that might be evident, will nevertheless be cruel and unforgiving to themselves. When the scriptures say to judge righteously, that means with fairness and compassion and charity. That’s how we must judge ourselves. We need to be patient and forgiving of ourselves, just as we must be patient and forgiving of others.” 

Elder D Chad Richardson:
"Apparently, many individuals do not understand the importance of self-forgiveness in the process of repentance. The Lord, however, makes no exceptions when He declares, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10; emphasis added). This includes forgiving ourselves.

Without doubt, Satan uses this refusal to forgive ourselves as a means of enslaving us by turning past sins into addictions. He tempts some, for example, to believe that if they make themselves suffer enough, they will not return to the sin. This often leads, however, to self-loathing or self-abuse.

Satan tempts others to judge themselves harshly and to believe they don’t deserve to be forgiven, even when the Lord is willing to forgive them."-

Questions & Answers:
At times it takes even greater courage to forgive ourselves. A good bishop taught me that being unwilling to forgive is selfish, even when it is directed inwardly. I have found that as I forgive and ask for forgiveness, my capacity to love others increases and my ability to sense God’s love for me is strengthened.

Doctrine and Covenants 64:10: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” Only the Lord has the right to decide whether or not to forgive me. I realized that I was obligated to forgive myself, just as I would be required by the Lord to forgive others."-