On Forgiveness

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“The mystery of God’s love as I understand it is that God loves the man who was being mean to his dog just as much as he loves babies; God loves Susan Smith, who drowned her two sons, as much as he loves Desmond Tutu. And he loved her just as much when she was releasing the handbrake of her car that sent her boys into the river as he did when she first nursed them. So of course, he loves old ordinary me, even or especially at my most scared and petty and mean and obsessive. Loves me; chooses me.” — Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

It’s Sunday-ish material, but hey, if you can’t tell the world how you feel about God and Jesus on a weekday then those feleings are probably not doing you much good. On Ravelry in the LDS Knitters group we were having a discussion about whether or not being a Christian means forgiving Osama bin Laden. My thoughts:

Now this is (as with everything I say) just my understanding, but yes, it does mean that. Being a Christian means doing our best to forgive everyone who has done us wrong. No. Matter. What. They. Did. I don’t think it means forgetting in the sense that we develop a blank spot in our minds, I think it means that we don’t keep bringing it up. We don’t allow ourselves to obsess. When a horrible hurt is remembered we say to ourselves “Yes, that was terrible, and it hurt, and that’s okay.” And we feel hurt and then we let it go as well as we can. It doesn’t mean we will stop being sad or hurt, but it means we eventually stop being angry. Refusal to try to forgive is a great act of ego. It’s us saying that we are better than that person, that we’d never make their mistakes, and basically that we’re better. And we just can’t say that.

I think it’s the very hardest commandment, but I think it embodies that humility that it takes to be able to step back from the horrible awfulness of parts of life and say “I trust my Father in Heaven and my Savoir to take care of all of this, and I’m going to turn it over to them. I’m not going to be a victim, but I’m not going to let someone else’s mistakes become poison to my soul, to keep me from loving or being loved. ”

In the end one of the hardest truths of the Gospel is that Heavenly Father is a loving father, and like any good parent He loves His children with all of his heart, no matter how they are behaving. No matter what they choose to do with the Atonement in the end, He loves Osama bin Laden just as much as He loves President Monson. And that means that whether I’m yelling obscenities at my husband or taking care of a sick friend, whether I’m serving in the Temple or seething in jealousy, and whether I’m choosing hate or love, He’s right there waiting for me. He loves me. He loves ME. He loves YOU.

 

 

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