"So many of us are inclined to say we forgive, when in fact we are unwilling to forget. If the Lord is willing to forget the sins of the repentant, then why are so many of us inclined to bring up the past again and again? Here is a great lesson we all need to learn. There is no true forgiveness without forgetting." President Gordon B. Hinckley.
I am experiencing something in my life that I have never experienced and to go along with this, I am having a very difficult time gaining understanding. (However as I am re-reading this maybe the understanding that I am looking for comes in the following message.) I have learned that my way of dealing with these kind of issues for myself is to write about it. Does it make things better? For me it does and so I write. Five weeks ago words were exchanged at a late hour, probably too late to be rational and because of it my heart is aching more than I ever imagined; the hurt stems from the fact that the words that came from my mouth will not be forgotten even though I uttered those simple, yet profound humbling words,"I'm Sorry." My intentions that night were to not cause hurt feelings, anger, or irrational decisions or behavior, but it was taken as such and for this I am sorry for both of us. However, for me today as I partook of the sacrament, I could sense the love that our Savior has for not only me, but the person in my life that seems to be having some difficulty accepting my weaknesses and also my apology. I partook of the bread and water knowing that the Savior not only forgives both of our imperfections and sins, but that he doesn't remember them either. I love the scripture that says, "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I the Lord, remember them no more." Why then do we as human beings have such a difficult time not only forgiving each other, but forgetting or as the Lord says, remembering them no more? Growing up my mother always taught me to forgive, but as an adult I have learned to not only forgive but to forget. The above quote by President Hinckley sums up what I am feeling and gives me the perspective that all need to have when dealing with the disappointments others or ourselves have created.
I've never ever been a grudge holder, but I have according to my mother never been able to verbally apologize. She would be proud to know I have over come this fear of the verbal apology. I have learned that I feel as if the mistake, sin, or what have you is off of my shoulders, when I can truly tell someone that I am sorry for the feelings of hurt that I have caused. I learned years ago that if I am angry or unforgiving, that I am only hurting myself. Joseph F. Smith said, "I believe it is our solemn duty to love one another, to believe in each other, to have faith in each other, that is our duty to overlook the faults and the failings of each other, and not magnify them in our own eyes nor before the eyes of the world. We ought not to harbor feelings one against another, but have a feeling of forgiveness and of brotherly love and sisterly love, for another." President Spence W. Kimball said, "He who will not forgive others breaks down the bridge over which he himself must travel." And Jeffrey R. Holland said, "By dismissing the principles of repentance and forgiveness, we foolishly choose to make life more painful for ourselves."
Last weeks RS lesson has been with me all week. I have been so focused on it and my desire to follow President Monson's councel, that a week later I can't stop thinking about it. It was actually a talk given in the October 2009 Priesthood session. I could try to summarize, but President Monson says it so well that I will just quote some of my favorite sections of his talk instead, “Anger doesn’t solve anything. It builds nothing, but it can destroy everything.”2
We’ve all felt anger. It can come when things don’t turn out the way we want. It might be a reaction to something which is said of us or to us. We may experience it when people don’t behave the way we want them to behave. Perhaps it comes when we have to wait for something longer than we expected. We might feel angry when others can’t see things from our perspective. There seem to be countless possible reasons for anger.
There are times when we can become upset at imagined hurts or perceived injustices. “A man’s a fool who takes an insult that isn’t intended.”3
The Apostle Paul asks in Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 26 of the Joseph Smith Translation: “Can ye be angry, and not sin? let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” I ask, is it possible to feel the Spirit of our Heavenly Father when we are angry? I know of no instance where such would be the case.
From 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, we read:“There shall be no disputations among you. . . .For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another. Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.”4
To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan. No one can make us angry. It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry. I testify that such is possible...
Anger, Satan’s tool, is destructive in so many ways.
Apropos are the words of the poet John Greenleaf Whittier: “Of all sad words of
tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’ ”7 May we make a conscious decision, each time such a decision must be made, to refrain from anger and to leave unsaid the harsh and hurtful things we may be tempted to say."
I've learned from President Monson's remarks to be more in control of my tongue, something I wish I had learned years ago. I am learning slowly and surely I will get it one day, but until then those who encounter my imperfections will just have to remember that I'm human, I make mistakes and from them I grow and become better. "Mistakes are not only an acceptable part of life, but they may even be beneficial. The intelligent use of our mistakes helps us learn and grow; past failures may be guideposts to future successes. But our failures and mistakes can be constructive only if we analyze them, gain what profit we can from them, and forget them." Elder Kenneth L. Higbee