Humility and Forgiveness

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by Jan

Day 240: Smooch!Which one of us has had a stone lobbed at us, for no apparent good reason, and our feathers became ruffled? Or perhaps we have spoken out of turn only to regret it minutes later? How many if only moments have we experienced because we forgot to listen to the calming voice of the Holy Spirit? How do we live non-contentiously when the contentious world lives all around us egging us on to join the fray?

As no doubt all of us have had any of the above experiences, I would like to share with you what I have learned over the years.

1. Prayer will bring the Holy Ghost immediately to our rescue—assuming we have allowed ourselves to seek his guidance often. Hurt feelings and instant retaliation is an epidemic in our society. In Church, it is those with weak testimonies who fall by the wayside. Pray that you may humbly accept what you can’t control around you and still remain faithful to Jesus Christ. Pres. Thomas S. Monson told us this in conference a few years back:

One human resource officer assigned to handle petty grievances concluded an unusually hectic day by placing facetiously a little sign on his desk for those with unsolved problems. It read, “Have you tried prayer?” What he may not have realized was that this simple counsel would solve more problems, alleviate more suffering, prevent more transgression, and bring about greater peace and contentment in the human soul than could be obtained in any other way.

2. Keep eternity in view. Worldly issues of impending doom can catch hold on our temporal thoughts and bring us down. Caustic glop of despair, envy, revenge, and regret tend to clog the pores of our soul. Even an overabundance of good choices can overpower better disciplines. By keeping an eternal perspective we can look up and look toward our Savior who has overcome the world. You may remember what Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said:

How can we tell the difference for our own situation? We can ask ourselves, ‘Am I committing my time and energies to the things that matter most?’ There are so many good things to do, but we can’t do all of them. Our Heavenly Father is most pleased when we sacrifice something good for something far greater with an eternal perspective. Sometimes, that may even mean nurturing small but beautiful forget-me-not flowers instead of a large garden of exotic blooms.

3. Take time to quietly ponder, accepting God’s will before our own. Immediate reactions generally get us into trouble. Breathing deeply, even letting seconds, hours, days go by, can help us navigate our natural feelings and allow us to see how God might handle this dilemma. Listen to these wise words from Elder Quentin L. Cook:

How we relate and interact with each other is a measure of our willingness to follow Jesus Christ…We live in a noisy, contentious world, where it is possible to be viewing or listening to information, music, or even pure nonsense virtually every waking hour. If we want to have the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, we must find time to slow down, ponder, pray, and live so we are worthy to receive and act upon His promptings. We will avoid major mistakes if we heed His warnings. It is our privilege as members to receive light and knowledge from Him even to the perfect day. (D&C 50:24)…The atoning trials the Savior faced in Gethsemane and on the cross are a great example to us. He faced mental, physical, and spiritual afflictions that are beyond our comprehension. In the garden, He prayed to His Father, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matt. 26:39)… As His disciples, there will be times when we will be tried and persecuted unjustly and mocked unfairly and face temporal and spiritual storms of a magnitude that will seem unbearable to us and experience bitter cups that we pray would pass from us. No one is exempt from the storms of life.

4.  Returned kindness goes a long way. Our generation is forgetting to be kind to one another. Acceptance and tolerance are only words, with little sincere action. By remembering who we are, we can represent our Savior at all times and in all places. I don’t think any of us will forget the words and example of Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley:

I know this is a delicate and sensitive thing of which I am speaking. There are hardened criminals who may have to be locked up. There are unspeakable crimes, such as deliberate murder and rape that justify harsh penalties. But there are some who could be saved from long, stultifying years in prison because of an unthoughtful, foolish act. Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way…The great Atonement was the supreme act of forgiveness. The magnitude of that Atonement is beyond our ability to completely understand. I know only that it happened, and that it was for me and for you. The suffering was so great, the agony so intense, that none of us can comprehend it when the Savior offered Himself as a ransom for the sins of all mankind…It is through Him that we gain forgiveness…May God help us to be a little kinder, showing forth greater forbearance, to be more forgiving, more willing to walk the second mile, to reach down and lift up those who may have sinned but have brought forth the fruits of repentance, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more.

5. As Latter-day Saints, we need to avoid pride like the plague. The Book of Mormon tells us this will be the downfall of church members, if we are not watchful.

And now behold, my son, I fear lest the Lamanites shall destroy this people; for they do not repent, and Satan stirreth them up continually to anger one with another.

Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them.

For so exceedingly do they anger that it seemeth me that they have no fear of death; and they have lost their love, one towards another; and they athirst after blood and revenge continually.

Satan is fighting dirty and we must not get caught up in the things of life. He will stir us up to feel hurt, anger, resentment, and hopelessness. Only through the Savior can we rise above these emotions and accept His way. We need to trust that He will make all things right, if we allow Him to be the judge, and merciful Savior, that we believe He is.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (Enjoy the entire chapter while you’re at it.)

There are those who take issues to the extreme, in the name of righteous indignation, and fall into the well-oiled trap of Satan.

  • Where injustice happens to all of us, how have you been able to control your hurt and anger and realign yourself with the Lord?

About Jan

I’m a wife, mother, grandma, former Church Museum docent, and incurable volunteer. I also research all things Relief Society at ldswomenofgod.

5 Responses to Humility and Forgiveness

  1. Kate says:

    I loved this. Thank-you for sharing.

  2. Brenda says:

    Isn’t it easy to justify all of our indignation as “righteous”? It is something I am working on. I’ve found it better to assume that none of my indignation is righteous and go from there.

    • Tudie Rose says:

      I love that — maybe that should be my starting point too.

    • Jan says:

      I think we’re all a little guilty of that. It’s the speed in which we recognize it that I think the Lord gives us “pat on the head” points.

      It seems many blogs like to stir the pot over what they see as righteous indignation and the fireworks go off from there. Beware!

  3. Jendoop says:

    For me short circuiting the contention is as simple as walking away. I get so tangled in my thoughts and emotions that if I can recognize it and disengage and go do something completely different (using a different part if my brain) I can be happy about the outcome. When I reflect it is easier to put the issue in perspective. It’s amazing how powerfully our emotions influence our cognition and actions. Realizing that we’re as reactive to intense emotions as every other person (humility – as you said) makes us more cautious in how we act and react. If we don’t reign ourselves in eventually a situation will come along that teaches us in an uncomfortable or even embarrassing way.

    Great post, very needed!

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