Wednesday, April 6, 2016

D&C 64:10 -- On Forgiving Everyone

"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."
Doctrine and Covenants 64:10

This is an interesting requirement, and sometimes we wonder... why should we have to forgive everyone?  Some people do things that seem unforgivable to us.  Do we have to forgive child abusers and genocidal maniacs?

Let's remember first that God isn't saying to us "You are wrong, these people are good, and you should treat them nicely."  He's saying very clearly "Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you" (Luke 6:27), because yeah... maybe Hitler isn't a good guy who we should honor as a hero.  But God *requires* us to forgive him anyway... and forgive everyone else too, even the people who very purposefully and coldly have harmed us in the worst possible ways.  Not because everyone gets off scott free, but because this is his job and not ours.  We don't have the perspective needed to make these decisions.  He will make everything right in the end, dispensing justice and judgement as needed.

Why, we ask.  Why would God ever ask us to do that?  And the answer is that none of this would work... the whole world wouldn't work... if everyone got to judge everyone else from their own perspective based on limited knowledge and specific actions.  Sure, yes, we think that we have a case.  And maybe we do.  But it doesn't matter.  The verse still applies.  It applies *because* if we all got to decide then absolutely no one would be saved.  We've all done things that others condemn.  We all have screwed things up royally.  The only way this world works and any of us have a chance is that God gave us a mediator, and Christ placed himself between all of us and justice.

In John 8:11 Christ says "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." Christ stopped them from stoning a woman, not because she wasn't guilty, but because he understood her, and chose to give her a second chance.  He got her accusers to leave because he made them realize that non of them had room to condemn her, because they also deserved severe punishment and needed a second chance.  And that is exactly the same thing that he does for each of us. He gives us another chance, and he demands that because of our chances, he be allowed to give others a chance too.

Christ's atonement gave him the ability to feel what we all have felt.  Our pains, our anguish, our suffering, our guilt, our sin... everything.  And only he, knowing the full extent of the whole world's pain, can fulfill justice while still offering us mercy.  He is what stands between us and the people we want to condemn.  And he is what stands between us and the people wanting to condemn us.  Today, let us forgive, and love, and pray that God's will be done, and that we can learn love and peace rather than tearing each other apart.

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