In the most recent LDS General Conference, Elder Echo Hawk gave a powerful testimony about forgiveness.
His message has had me reflecting on the importance of this principle ever since.
I think we all have someone in our lives that is a little bit harder for us to forgive.
A little bit easier for us to judge.
A little bit harder for us to love.
Can you picture that person in your mind's eye?
That person might even be yourself.
Whoever it is, picture them as you ponder the next couple of questions by Elder Hawk:
"Do you harbor what seems like fully justified feelings of resentment and anger?" (I sure do. Totally justified)
"Are [you] letting pride keep [you] from forgiving and letting go?" (sure am)
"We are to be forgiving even when it seems others may not warrant our forgiveness."
In other words, we don't have to feel like someone deserves our forgiveness in order to give it.
This is great news.
Because we can choose to forgive today.
We don't have to wait for anyone else to change.
We can forgive others without condoning their behavior.
Love the sinner, not the sin.
Forgiveness allowed Elder Hawk to let go of the pain and resentment he felt for the man who took the life of his brother and sister-in-law in a horrible car accident.
He said it beautifully,
"My heart will always miss [my brother and his wife], but forgiveness now allows me to remember them with unfettered joy."
I love that.
Dr. Phil, in an interview with Oprah, said this:
"People think forgiveness is a wave that washes over you. It's not. It's a choice."
He compared the inability to forgive to that of the smell of a skunk.
It pervades every other aspect of your life.
In other words,
when we harbor deep resentment for one person it automatically affects other aspects of our lives.
Choosing not to forgive can taint everything.
So choose forgiveness.
Even if it doesn't come right away,
with the help of Jesus Christ,
it will come.
Discourse by Elder Hawk found here.
Clip of the interview with Dr. Phil found here.