Tuesday, June 28, 2016

D&C 64:7-10 -- On Repenting and Forgiving

"Nevertheless, he has sinned; but verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me and ask forgiveness, who have not sinned unto death.
My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.
Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."
Doctrine and Covenants 64:7-10

The first verse here comes at the end of God telling the people of the church that they were forgiven, "this once" (verse 3).  Then, he has to continue, telling them specifically that he has also forgiven the prophet, which is the "he" referred to in the first verse of this selection.  He continues to explain that, yes, he has sinned, but that there is a way to be forgiven, and he reminds them (and us) what that is.

The story about his disciples I think is to emphasize his point.  God himself has just forgiven everyone in the room, and yet he still has to address individual bitterness.  So, he explains that if we don't forgive others, the greater sin is ours. That can seem pretty strong to us, I think, because some of the sins that we're holding against others are the extreme kind. Not little ones where it is silly to hold a grudge... or so we think.  But God doesn't back down from this and come up with some sin balancing formula so we can figure out who is more to blame, even though that is often the game that we want to play.  He's serious.  We have the greater sin if we refuse to forgive.

How can not forgiving "that horrible person" be as bad as what he or she did?  And I think the answer comes in thinking about who we are arguing with, and in contemplating the last verse.  Christ suffered for all of our sins, so that we can be forgiven.  When we refuse to forgive someone else, we're basically saying, no, the atonement wasn't enough.  I demand more. We're valuing our own satisfaction over Christ's atonement, and over God's justice.  In the end, both mercy and justice will be fully satisfied.  But it is going to happen in God's way. He paid dearly for that privilege, and if he had not, we would all be condemned.

Today, let's remember both that we can be forgiven through Christ, and also that as we have been forgiven, we need to forgive others.  God will work it all out in the end, but that is his job, not ours.  Let's repent, and let go of the burden of anger and resentment that poisons our lives, and move on in the love and peace of Christ.

1 comment:

  1. Recently we've been dealing with mosquito bites and fire ants. Their poison itches and causes much annoyance. If we leave them alone and allow the body to deal with it, it is amazing and will help the bite it to heal on its own. If we scratch it, the site becomes swollen and itchier. It can even become infected and make things worse, delaying the healing powers that be and may leave a scar. I'm seeing a simple little lesson here in trying not to focus on the bite and stop our complaining. God already had the plan in place to heal us, no matter how deep the pain. :)


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