I recently remembered a little song the children sing in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about forgiveness and offense:

 

primary kidsHelp me, dear Father, to freely forgive
All who may seem unkind to me.

 

Help me each day, Father, I pray;
Help me live nearer, nearer to thee.

 

Help me, dear Father, to truly repent,
Making things right, and changing my ways.

 

Help me each day, Father, I pray;
Help me live nearer, nearer to thee.

 

(Frances K. Taylor, “Help Me, Dear Father,” Children’s Songbook)

 

Ironically, whatever the case, it can be difficult to forgive those who hurt us.

 

I am both comforted and stirred up by these words, revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith:

 

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.

 

And ye ought to say in your hearts — let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.

 

(Doctrine and Covenants 64:8-11)

 

Firstly, if the disciples of Jesus Christ in olden times had difficulties with forgiveness, I feel less unusual when I have difficulty forgiving. This is not an excuse, but it is an acknowledgment that this is a normal human difficulty, even among those who believe.

 

Secondly, I am comforted to know that the Lord is aware of my situation, no matter what it is. If I am hurt by an offense, whether intentionally or accidentally, He knows. His Atonement can heal. In fact, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the only power which can heal a wounded heart. No action from another person, even apologies and restitution from an offender, can make the offended forgive. Forgiveness is a gift of God, and we must seek it or we will continue to carry “the greater sin.”

 

Elder David A. Bednar, a modern Apostle of Jesus Christ, gave an address about the topic of offense. He said:

 

One of the greatest indicators of our own spiritual maturity is revealed in how we respond to the weaknesses, the inexperience, and the potentially offensive actions of others. A thing, an event, or an expression may be offensive, but you and I can choose not to be offended — and to say . . . ‘it mattereth not'” (David A. Bednar, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” October 2006).

 

jesus christ mormonI am grateful for the forgiveness I receive from Jesus Christ and for the gift He has given me to forgive others at certain difficult times in my life. I am also grateful for a sweet little children’s song that effectively puts me back in my place when I struggle to forgive.

 

MP3 of “Help Me, Dear Father”

 

This article was originally published in January 2008. Minor changes have been made.

About Nathan H

Copyright © 2020 LDS Blogs. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit LDS.org or Mormon.org.