Events around the nation, and some close to home, have caused me to reflect on forgiveness. I have listened to several amazing general conference talks about the Atonement, repentance and forgiveness and have felt, as the title of my post says, that forgiveness is a matter of faith.
I feel that when we choose to forgive, no matter the offense against us we show our faith in our Heavenly Father and in Jesus Christ. I feel as if we are saying to the Lord:
- I have trust that You, knowing all, are the perfect judge.
- I have faith in your plan and in your timing, even if I don't understand it all. (Similarly, I think forgiveness also shows our humility as we say, "Thy will be done.")
- I know that through the Atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, all that is unfair about this life can be made right.
I am grateful for my Heavenly Father's patience with and mercy towards me. I am far from perfect, but I am grateful that through the gift of his Son, I can overcome my faults and receive forgiveness. It takes time and work, but it is possible. I am grateful to know that likewise, He is merciful to all those who are willing to follow Him. As I see people I love going through hard things I am grateful to know that Heavenly Father loves and cares for them and that he is willing to help them, just as I know he is willing to help me.
I have thought often about this statement from The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
"Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
I know that forgiveness starts in our homes and in our families. It is interesting to teach this principle to a child who feels hurt because their sibling took something, or broke something or said something hurtful. But will learning to forgive now help them as they encounter different and "bigger" things as they grow? I think it will. Watching them forgive quickly has reminded me that this is another way that we need to become as little children.
I am grateful for the example of others who seem to forgive so quickly, even offenses that are so big and life altering. It makes me reflect on what I can do to be more forgiving in my life. I know that as we choose to forgive we open our hearts to the peace that is offered by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
This is another reason I am so grateful for this Christmas season.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.