Monday, November 20, 2017

A&C Series - Forgive One Another

I descended below it all, and know the sorrows of you all, and have borne the grief of it all and I say to you, Forgive one another. 
A&C pg 7.

The instruction to forgive one another is preceded by the Lord reminding us of who He is and what He has done. He descended below everything any of us will endure. He knows the sorrows of us all, and has born the grief of it all. He is the context within which we are instructed to forgive one another. It's possible alongside Him, because he has already done it. He is "quick to forgive sin". And we are supposed to be like him.

The realization came to my mind the other day that Christ is able to forgive everyone, because He knows how to do it. He has reconciled in his mind and heart even those that killed him. He knows exactly how to forgive. It's not just an act of will power, it's also a function of the knowledge he gained by going through that internal reconciliation as part of His atonement. (Isaiah 53:11)

I believe forgiveness is the key which empowers us to walk away from the spirit of bitterness and anger. If we do not, we end up in a self-imposed prison, locking up our hearts in separation from God and others. The mind can lead the heart, so if the heart isn't quite ready to let go, or forgive, the mind can lead the way and the heart can follow.

In my experience what sometimes holds the heart back from forgiving is the offense and the hurt may never have been acknowledged, or validated or expressed in a healthy way. So the hurt just lingers. Then walls get put up inside, and a person may subtly try to prove how "right" they are about how "wrong" others are. Endlessly seeking to feel understood. It's healing with someone genuinely listens to you, and shows empathy without judging. Love heals. Listening with no agenda in many cases allows the heart to feel validated, and once that happens, letting go is more natural.

If you want to help someone forgive listening to them and understanding how and why they may have felt the way they did can be a great step. It goes awry when we have a hidden agenda, or ignorantly tell someone they shouldn't be feeling what they are feeling. That doesn't help peoples hearts unite, it tends to do the opposite.
But back to the scriptures: Ephesians: 4:30-32 "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

The Answer and Covenant has similarities and carries the same spirit as Paul writing to the Ephesians.

In my experience, when you receive from God, you are then able to give of what you have received.

Consider this:
In most cases it is our disrespect for ourselves that impedes coming to Him. We tend to think we aren't good enough. However, because He is quick to forgive sins, it really doesn't matter if you are not good enough. One of the first orders of business when you come into His presence is that He forgives you. He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance,(D&C 1:31), but He has the capacity and the ability to forgive sin. Therefore although your sins may be as scarlet, He can, He will and He does, make you white as snow (Isa 1:18), no longer accountable for your limitations. Therefore you needn't fear, but you can approach boldly, our Lord (Heb 4:16)

Christ: The Prototype of the Saved Man, 40 Years in Mormonism Lecture 7 Ephraim, Utah

Lets forgive one another. And show some respect for ourselves. We can forgive right here, and right now. God is willing to, and we have been asked to be like Him.

Follow up 12/4/17:

I was pondering on this subject one night after writing this post and the scripture came to mind in the NT where the friends of the disabled guy lower him through the roof to get to where Jesus is and Jesus forgives his sins, and then heals him and he gets up and walks.  The religious leaders present question among themselves about Jesus having power to forgive sins.  They scoffed at Jesus doing such a thing.   

After thinking through that scripture, I wondered about God asking us to forgive each other.  It's a repeated commandment to forgive.  And God doesn't ask things without providing a way to do it.   The question came to my mind:  Does the commandment to forgive others come accompanied with or embedded with an actual power to forgive sins?  It seemed like blasphemy at first, that anyone but God could forgive sin.  Makes sense to me that only Christ can forgive sin because he paid the price for them, thus he is the only one who can forgive them.  And yet.....  he tells us to forgive others.  So, in some small way, do we have an ability, albeit small, to forgive sins?  If we are Children of Christ, would not the power to forgive sins be within us?

Food for thought. 

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