Day 18: Forgive Men Their Trespasses | Light the World

Jesus taught:

Forgive men their trespasses.”

—Matthew 6:14

You know, there’s no way to go through life unhurt by others. It’s just not realistic. We are all connected to others, and through that connection injury is possible. It takes bravery to keep reaching out knowing that people will inevitably cause us pain. And you know what? That’s okay. Getting hurt is okay. It’s not fun (hence the word hurt), but it won’t cause an indelible scar if we don’t let it. It’s all about choice: how we react, what we do, if we forgive, if we overcome. We can overcome anything and forgive all people. We have that ability, that choice. That responsibility. We not only can forgive others, we’re expected to…because we hurt others in turn. We are all guilty.

I’ve noticed a theme this month about forgiving and being forgiven. Often the people we have to forgive the most, who hurt us the deepest, are our family. I think I’ve started to take this step with a particular extended family member this year. (Update: I actually received a reply yesterday. It was short, but positive.) So I suppose it’s never too late to try. An apology is always acceptable. If someone swallows their pride and humbles themselves enough to give an apology, it’s your duty (and my duty) to accept it. Their sincerity or lack of isn’t for you to decide. That’s between them and God. Just assume that they’re sincere.

How often should you forgive? Seventy times seven. Countless, limitless forgiving. After all, the Lord forgives us as often as we need it. Surely we can forgive another as often as they need it as well.

Believe me when I say that I know it’s not always easy. Sometimes a person’s trespasses against us are serious and painful: betrayal, murder, violation. These are not easy things to forgive. It doesn’t happen quickly. But anything is possible through the gift of the Atonement. At the very least, forgiving lightens your own soul let alone someone else’s.

Light the World, and Choose Joy.

—A

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