The LDS Daily WOOL© Archive - Forgiveness

If we are going to teach our children the principle of forgiveness, we need to begin with our own lives. We must set our children a good example. In dealing with family or friends, we hurt them when we are selfish or thoughtless. But if we change our ways to avoid giving offense in the future, it is easier to receive forgiveness. Repentance is a change of behavior which invites forgiveness. If father and mother forgive each other quickly and afterwards show increased love and consideration for each other, their children will quickly learn to act likewise. Repentance and forgiveness will become standards within that family. — Elder Theodore M. Burton, General Conference, April 1983

If we learn to forgive one another within the family, we will be able to forgive more readily within the Church and within the community. Like many good things, forgiveness begins in the home. We must remember to teach our children that even if others fail to be kind and considerate, we ought to be slow to condemn and very quick to forgive. We need not be tolerant of sin, but we must become tolerant and forgiving of the sinner. Jesus Christ gave his life to reconcile us to God so that through his atonement we can repent and receive forgiveness of our sins. We owe our Savior a great debt. Part of that debt is the obligation we have to forgive one another. — Elder Theodore M. Burton, General Conference, April 1983

"How I hate him!" she told me, and her voice breathed venom and bitterness and her dark eyes flashed. To think that an able-bodied man would defraud a young widow with a family to support! "How I loathe him!" she repeated over and over. Then I told her my Bishop Kempton story where a man forgave the murderer of his father. She listened intently. I saw she was impressed. At the conclusion there were tears in her eyes. and she whispered: "Thank you. Thank you sincerely. Surely I, too, must forgive my enemy. I will now cleanse my heart of its bitterness. I do not expect ever to receive the money, but I leave my offender in the hands of the Lord." — President Spencer W. Kimball, General Conference, October 1977

Now, brothers and sisters, let us go to our homes and dismiss from our beings--and purge from our souls--the venom of any feeling of ill will or bitterness toward anyone. Let us strike from our hearts the unwillingness to forgive and forget; and, instead, approach men in the spirit of the Master, even those who "despitefully use you." (Matt. 5:44.) Let us pray--rather, let us plead for the spirit of forgiveness. Let us look for the good in each other--not the flaws. — Bishop H. Burke Peterson, General Conference, October 1983

Likewise, I appeal to us all to consider anew this counsel from Jesus: "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." (Matt. 18:15.) To win a point does not compare with "gaining" a brother! Let us all take extra care to avoid both giving and taking offense. Let us be loving, kind, and forgiving--helping these friends to become, as Peter and Paul said, grounded, rooted, established, and settled! (See Eph. 3:17; 1 Pet. 5:10.) "The time is far spent." (Hymns, no. 184.) Savor these words quoted by a magnanimous and forgiving Prophet Joseph Smith to a repentant and returning W. W. Phelps: Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, For friends at first, are friends again at last. (Quoted in History of the Church, 4:164.) — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, General Conference, April 1982

Are there any of us here that, if it were necessary, would not get down on our knees and humble ourselves in the most abject manner before our brethren and sisters to obtain their forgiveness? I am proud, I know; but I have never yet seen an hour, and I hope I never shall, that I would not get down on my knees to my brethren and ask their forgiveness, if it were necessary to obtain it in that way. I want the forgiveness of my brethren and sisters when I do wrong; I want the forgiveness of my family; I want the forgiveness of my children, and of course I want the forgiveness of my Father in heaven. I want my sins blotted out day by day, so that they will not stand against me. I do not want my brethren to have feelings against me. I do not want the sun to go down before I have made everything right with them, if it is within my power to do so; and I certainly do not want to retire to rest without the forgiveness of my God. Pardon these personal allusions, but I mention them to emphasize if possible the feeling that I think we should have as Latter-day Saints. — Elder George Q. Cannon, Collected Discourses, Vol. 4, April 21, 1895

You will also discover the greatest friend of all, Jesus the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, full of perfect love and boundless compassion, with the power to forgive and forget. It is difficult for me to speak of Him, for I love Him so deeply. May the Spirit bear witness of that love and somehow touch your heart that you may find the courage to take those steps that will bring you peace and tranquility, that will restore your feelings of self-worth and place you on the path to happiness. — Elder Richard G. Scott, General Conference, April 1986

"The question is frequently asked, 'How can I know when I am forgiven? How will I feel?' Many scriptural examples provide understanding. Enos found that his 'guilt was swept away' (Enos 1:6). He no longer approached God or man feeling guilt-ridden. King Benjamin's people were 'filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ' (Mosiah 4:3; emphasis added)." - C. Max Caldwell, "The Path That Leads to Christ," Ensign, Apr. 1996, p. 30

"Our Lord gave us an example of the true spirit of forgiveness when he said from the cross, '... Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' (Luke 23:34.) We read also of that faithful disciple, Stephen, who was persecuted and stoned, 'And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.' (Acts 7:60.)" - N. Eldon Tanner, "The Importance of Prayer," Ensign, May 1974, p. 53

"Closely related to our own obligation to repent is the generosity of letting others do the same—we are to forgive even as we are forgiven. In this we participate in the very essence of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Surely the most majestic moment of that fateful Friday, when nature convulsed and the veil of the temple was rent, was that unspeakably merciful moment when Christ said, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' (Luke 23:34.) As our advocate with the Father, He is still making that same plea today—in your behalf and in mine." - Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 83

Topic: Do We Take Offense?

"It frequently happens that offenses are committed when the offender is not aware of it. Something he has said or done is misconstrued or misunderstood. The offended one treasures in his heart the offense, adding to it such other things as might give fuel to the fire and justify his conclusions. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the Lord requires that the offended one should make the overtures toward peace....

"To the Nephites the Lord said:

"...if ...thy brother hath aught against thee-

"Go thy way unto thy brother, and first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I will receive you. (III Nephi 12:23-24.)...

"Do we follow that commandment or do we sulk in our bitterness, waiting for our offender to learn of it and to kneel to us in remorse?" - Spencer W. Kimball, "Conference Report," October 1949, Third Day—Morning Meeting, p.132

"Not too long ago a young wife spoke at her husband's funeral and said, 'We came to realize that unimportant things really are unimportant. When the spirit is sick, there can be no true healing, no matter how strong the physical body. If the spirit is well, then physical impairment is unimportant, regardless of the effects of a debilitating disease.'

"The Lord has provided the way whereby our spiritual sicknesses can be healed. In the first chapter of Isaiah, verse 18, we read, 'Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'

"And, again in the Doctrine and Covenants, 'Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven' (D&C 1:32).

"Also, 'Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more' (D&C 58:42).

"For one to be forgiven of sin, the Lord requires that he come unto him, mourn over his sins, forsake the sins, be teachable, forgive others, and confess." - Vaughn J. Featherstone, "Forgive Them, I Pray Thee," Ensign (CR), November 1980, p.29

"The Lord has said, 'I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.' (D&C 64:10.) We are further admonished to forgive many times, even seventy times seven. We should stop and ask ourselves if we are prepared to ask the Lord to forgive us of our sins and trespasses only as we forgive our friends and neighbors. How wonderful it would be if we would all forgive and love our neighbors. Then it would be much easier for us to call upon the Lord to forgive us of any of our wrongdoings, and as we repent and bring forth fruits meet for repentance, we can expect Gods forgiveness and mercy to be extended in our behalf." - N. Eldon Tanner, "The Importance of Prayer," Ensign (CR), May 1974, p.50

"Let us remember that we need to forgive to be forgiven. In the words of one of my favorite hymns, 'Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be e'en forgiven now by me.' ("Reverently and Meekly Now," Hymns, no. 185.) With all my heart and soul, I believe in the healing power that can come to us as we follow the counsel of the Savior "to forgive all men.' (D&C 64:10.)" - James E. Faust, "The Healing Power of Forgiveness," General Conference, April 2007

"Brothers and sisters and friends, if we will sue for peace, taking the initiative in settling differencesif we can forgive and forget with all our heartsif we can cleanse our own souls of sin, accusations, bitterness, and guilt before we cast a stone at othersif we forgive all real or fancied offenses before we ask forgiveness for our own sinsif we pay our own debts, large or small, before we press our debtorsif we manage to clear our own eyes of the blinding beams before we magnify the motes in the eyes of otherswhat a glorious world this would be! Divorce would be reduced to a minimum; courts would be freed from disgusting routines; family life would be heavenly; the building of the kingdom would go forward at an accelerated pace; and the peace which passeth understanding would bring to us all a joy and happiness which has hardly "entered into the heart of man.'"Spencer W. Kimball, "Conference Report," October 1949, Third DayMorning Meeting, p.133

"In the battle of life, the adversary takes enormous numbers of prisoners, and many who know of no way to escape and are pressed into his service. Every soul confined to a concentration camp of sin and guilt has a key to the gate. The adversary cannot hold them if they know how to use it. The key is labeled Repentance. The twin principles of repentance and forgiveness exceed in strength the awesome power of the adversary." - Boyd K. Packer, "Our Moral Environment," Ensign (CR), May 1992, p.66

"It remains only for you and me to both seek and tender that forgiveness—to both repent and to extend charity to others—which enables us to pass through the door the Savior holds open, thus to cross the threshold from this life into exaltation. Today is the day to forgive others their trespasses, secure in the knowledge that the Lord will thus forgive ours. As Luke significantly recorded, “Be ye therefore merciful” (Luke 6:36; emphasis added). Perfection may elude us here, but we can be merciful. And in the end, repenting and forgiving are among God’s chief requirements of us." - Lance B. Wickman, "Today," Ensign, May 2008

"Now, in case someone has forgotten the extent of our obligation in forgiving that wayward neighbor, just remember 70 times 7 is 490. But we will never make it to 490, because if we follow the Lord's formula with sincerity, something very special always comes into our lives and into the lives of our neighbors long before we achieve 70 times 7." — Robert L. Simpson, "Conference Report," October 1966, Afternoon Meeting, p.12

"Each of us should daily resolve that with God's help we will not allow careless words from others to shape our destiny or control our daily course. How tragic it is to see, on occasion, a life of usefulness lost because we have allowed an unkind comment to cause a wound or hurt. We let the injury become an open sore and fester rather than treat it with prompt skill and maturity. Some try to get even with their offenders by dropping out of life's race. How weak, how damaging, how self-restricting is the often used statement, 'I'll never go back as long as that person is there!' On occasion some of us seem to stand on the sidelines waiting to be hurt, offended, or ignored. We listen for careless words from others and remember the unsaid hellos and read into the said or unsaid words a totally unintended message.

"One of the finest basketball players of all time was asked what had contributed the most to his outstanding success. His answer was, "I learned to play in pain. Although injuries, bruises, and bumps came, I never allowed myself the luxury of slowing down or quitting.

"The greatest teacher and leader also showed the world an example of proper conduct when He was the victim of unkind words and cruel deeds. He simply said, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34)." — Marvin J. Ashton, "Roadblocks to Progress," Ensign (CR), May 1979, p.67

“There are those among us who torture themselves through their inability to show mercy and to forgive others some supposed offense or slight, however small it may be. At times the statement is made, ‘I never can forgive [this person or that person].’ Such an attitude is destructive to an individual's well-being. It can canker the soul and ruin one's life. In other instances, an individual can forgive another but cannot forgive himself. Such a situation is even more destructive.” - Thomas S. Monson, “Mercy- The Divine Gift,” Ensign (CR), May 1995, p. 54

“When our little children handle things that are in their way, the knives, forks, pins, needles, anything, and scatter, waste, and lose them, and these little faults are committed every few minutes throughout the day, shall we forgive the children or whip them? We will always forgive them until they are taught better, and learn to know good from evil, right from wrong. Our Father in heaven deals with us his children upon this principle.” – Brigham Young, “Journal of Discourses,” 26 vols., 9:308

May I add a footnote here? When the Lord requires that we forgive all men, that includes forgiving ourselves. Sometimes, of all the people in the world, the one who is the hardest to forgive—as well as perhaps the one who is most in need of our forgiveness—is the person looking back at us in the mirror. - Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Merciful Obtain Mercy," Ensign (CR) May 2012

Christ’s love was so pure that he gave his life for us: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13.) But there was another gift he bestowed while he was on the cross, a gift that further measured the magnitude of his great love: he forgave, and asked his Father to forgive, those who persecuted and crucified him. - Marion D. Hanks, "Forgiveness: The Ultimate Form of Love," Ensign (CR) November 1973

A kind priesthood bearer—or any individual in a position to influence another—realizes that the power to influence others for good comes through love and praise and patience. In relationships where there is forgetting and forgiving, joy and trust are nurtured. - H. Burke Peterson, "Preparing the Heart," Ensign (CR) May 1990

It remains only for you and me to both seek and tender that forgiveness—to both repent and to extend charity to others—which enables us to pass through the door the Savior holds open, thus to cross the threshold from this life into exaltation. Today is the day to forgive others their trespasses, secure in the knowledge that the Lord will thus forgive ours. As Luke significantly recorded, “Be ye therefore merciful” (Luke 6:36). Perfection may elude us here, but we can be merciful. And in the end, repenting and forgiving are among God’s chief requirements of us. - Lance B. Wickman, “Today,” Ensign (CR) May 2008

President Brigham Young once compared being offended to a poisonous snakebite. He said that “there are two courses of action to follow when one is bitten by a rattlesnake. One may, in anger, fear, or vengefulness, pursue the creature and kill it. Or he may make full haste to get the venom out of his system.” He said, “If we pursue the latter course we will likely survive, but if we attempt to follow the former, we may not be around long enough to finish it. - David E. Sorensen, “Forgiveness Will Change Bitterness to Love,” Ensign (CR) May 2003

To forgive yourself and others, you must trust the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The prophet Zenock prayed, “Thou art angry, O Lord, with this people, because they will not understand thy mercies which thou hast bestowed upon them because of thy Son.” Our Father in Heaven is saddened when we limit the power of His Son’s atoning sacrifice. As you exercise faith in Jesus Christ, you can have your guilt “swept away.” If guilt remains after sincere repentance, believe your priesthood leaders when they declare you to be worthy. - Anthony D. Perkins, “The Great and Wonderful Love,” Ensign (CR) November 2006

He set up a new code for living—to love one another, even one’s enemies. He enjoined us to judge not, to forgive, and to give all men a second chance.

Think what a change this would make in the world today if we as individuals and the nations of the earth could live up to this code. We have often heard people say, “Well, I will forgive, but I won’t forget,” which, of course, means they do not forgive. -
O. Leslie Stone, “Commandments to Live By,” Ensign (CR) November 1979

Recently, while traveling on an unfamiliar road, I encountered a large temporary sign declaring Rough Road Ahead, and indeed it was. Had I not been warned, that experience would have been disastrous. Life is like that. It’s full of rough spots. Some are tests to make us stronger. Others result from our own disobedience. Helpful warnings in our personal life can also save us from disaster. A damaged road presents the same obstacles to every traveler until others repair it. The highway of life is different. Each one of us encounters unique challenges meant for growth. Also, our own bad choices can put more barriers in the path. Yet we have the capacity to smooth out the way, to fill in the depressions, and to beautify our course. The process is called repentance; the destination is forgiveness. - Richard G. Scott, “Finding Forgiveness,” Ensign (CR) April 1995

In His mercy, God promises forgiveness when we repent and turn from wickedness—so much so that our sins will not even be mentioned to us. For us, because of the Atonement of Christ and our repentance, we can look at our past deeds and say, “’Twas I; but ’tis not I.” No matter how wicked, we can say, “That’s who I was. But that past wicked self is no longer who I am.” - Dale G. Renlund, “Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying,” Ensign (CR) April 2015

Here, as in all things, Jesus set the standard for us to follow. Life is too short to be spent nursing animosities or keeping a box score of offenses against us—you know, no runs, no hits, all errors. We don't want God to remember our sins, so there is something fundamentally wrong in our relentlessly trying to remember those of others. - Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom," Ensign (CR), November 1996, p. 82

Real and deep-seated love for God and Jesus Christ comes into the human soul when forgiveness of sin and weakness comes from the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice and atonement becomes more genuine and purposeful when one repents and receives divine relief and forgiveness from sin and weakness. - Bernard P. Brockbank, "Conference Report," April 1965, Afternoon Meeting, p.132

Tolerant humans are slow to anger and quick to forgive. Whether or not their antagonist forgives them in turn, they freely forgive, leaving judgment to God. They know that not all problems can be solved and are willing to walk away from situations without bitterness or recrimination. This does not mean that they lack intelligence, judgment, or backbone, or that they handle their affairs loosely and without regard to their families' well-being, but rather that their action results from a Christ-like character trait. -
John K. Carmack, "Tolerance: Principles, Practices, Obstacles, Limit," p.50

One key to forgiving others is to try to see them as God sees them. At times, God may part the curtain and bless us with the gift to see into the heart, soul, and spirit of another person who has offended us. This insight may even lead to an overwhelming love for that person. - Kevin R. Duncan, “The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness,” Ensign (CR) May 2016

If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being. Some recent studies show that people who are taught to forgive become "less angry, more hopeful, less depressed, less anxious and less stressed," which leads to greater physical well-being. Another of these studies concludes "that forgiveness . . . is a liberating gift [that]people can give to themselves." - James E. Faust, “The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign (CR) May 2007

Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount the virtues of the heart such as love, forgiveness, and compassion. He taught us as His disciples to take His name and character upon us. This changes our hearts and blesses our relationships with others. Elder Marvin J. Ashton said, “When we truly become converted to Jesus Christ, committed to Him, an interesting thing happens: our attention turns to the welfare of our fellowman, and the way we treat others becomes increasingly filled with patience, kindness, [and] a gentle acceptance” (“The Tongue Can Be a Sharp Sword,” Ensign, May 1992, 20). - Susan W. Tanner, “Steadfast in Our Covenants,” Ensign (CR), May 2003, p.100

Jesus Christ can forgive because He paid the price for our sins.

Our Redeemer chooses to forgive because of His incomparable compassion, mercy, and love.

Our Savior wants to forgive because this is one of His divine attributes.

And, like the Good Shepherd He is, He is joyful when we choose to repent. – Dale G. Renlund, “Repentance: A Joyful Choice,” Ensign (CR) November 2016

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