I Struggle with Forgiving Others
Symptom – I struggle to forgive others
I am commanded to freely forgive others. I must do this before I can gain forgiveness for my own sins. But I can’t always do it. I will never be worthy unless I am able to do it.
Diagnosis – The unforgiven don’t know how to forgive
According to LDS doctrine, God’s forgiveness is conditional; but you must forgive your fellow man unconditionally (freely). LDS scripture states: “I the Lord will forgive whom I forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all man.” [D&C 64:10]. LDS doctrine also sets many prerequisites to being forgiven by God; one of which is freely forgiving everyone who sins against you.
Cure – We forgive because He first forgave us
But this is not the way Heavenly Father explains how he forgives us or how we forgive others. First, we receive Heavenly Father’s forgiveness freely on the basis of faith; not by first meeting the conditions of the LDS process of repentance: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins”.
Second there is no difference between how we are to forgive others and how God forgives us: “even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye”.
Third, freely (unconditionally) forgiving someone is an act of charity. Such forgiveness is not offered because the person deserves it or is worthy of it. It is only accomplished through love. John the Beloved wrote “We love him, because he first loved us” and “he who loveth God love his brother also”. The sequence here is first God loves us. One way he loves us is by unconditionally forgiving us. Only after we have been so loved can we offer that same love to our brother. More specifically, only after we recognize we have been freely (unconditionally) forgiven by God; can we freely forgive others.
Treatment – Forgive others out of the full forgiveness you’ve received
The principles stated above are illustrated in the parable of the unmerciful servant. (See Matthew 18:21-35). First, the king (who represents God) freely forgives the first servant a nearly immeasurable debt. Second, this servant (who represents an unbeliever) refuses to forgive his fellow servant a tiny debt. Third, the king severely punishes the unmerciful servant because he should have forgiven the debt of his fellow servant. Since the unmerciful servant had been forgiven such a large debt he could afford to forgive the much smaller debt. Fourth, this parable was told to Christ’s disciples when Peter asked how often he should forgive someone. The message of the parable is that Peter (and we) should freely forgive others because we have already been forgiven by God of all our sins.
To read more about how our acts of mercy, such as forgiveness, only follow our faith in the mercy Heavenly Father first bestowed on us Click Here. This link will take you to a blog post titled “The Testimony of Three Witnesses: Faith Without Works is Dead!”.
Acts 10:43: To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins
Colossians 3:13: Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
John 4:19-21: We love him, because he first loved us. 20If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Matthew 18:21-35: Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.