Sunday, July 5, 2015

To Forgive is Divine.

This story really begins last Sunday.

The name of a mission friend popped into my head and I felt impressed to text him, 'but I haven't seen him/heard from him/talked to him in SO long' I thought. In fact, I didn't think I had his phone number anymore. I technically didn't have his number, but somehow my phone linked his name with his number #iCloud. Anyways, we got in touch and that was a spiritual experience in and of itself (let's just say we thought about each other at the same time, and I was able to help a friend in need!), and I felt impressed to invite him to church with me this Sunday.

We made plans and they became concrete, BUT in the back of my mind I had this little voice that was like, 'honestly, this probably won't happen.' You see, literally EVERY time we've made plans they've fallen through, and so I kind of had that mentality, although during the week he had assured me he would be there. To make a long story short, I was sitting in ward council when I got his text that began, "You're gonna hate me..." I didn't even have to read the rest of the text to know what was happening. Honestly, my first thoughts weren't exactly Christlike. I contemplated giving him a piece of my mind and sending him on this guilt trip, but then I thought, "just say 'ok' no need to make someone feel worse than they already do...' So I did, along with the smiley/blushy face emoji (it's one of my faves).

Later, as the sacrament was being passed I was saying a prayer, thanking Heavenly Father for the week that I had been blessed with when the word 'forgive' came into my mind. I was so confused. (The events from the morning were completely out of my mind at this point) When I think of the word 'forgive' I think of the big time grievances; I think about BIG sins and how I could probably forgive someone if they hurt me physically or if they hurt someone I love. There was no entry in the Bible Dictionary on forgiveness, so I searched the word 'forgive' on I found a message from the April 1983 general conference entitled, To Forgive is Divine and found the following passage that spoke straight to my heart.
That forgiveness which comes from our Heavenly Father is so complete that he will not even call to mind the sins we have committed. His forgiveness is so all-inclusive that the Lord will not even remember those sins. . . As we plead for mercy, we need to show mercy to others. The injury people do us may appear at the moment to be very great. Yet, just as time heals the wounds of the body, so time also heals the wounds of the soul. As we apply disinfectants to aid in healing the wounds of the body, we need to apply love and understanding in disinfecting the wounds of the soul. To the extent we give forgiveness to others, we can expect to receive forgiveness for ourselves. It is all part of the process of repentance. 
I was instantly reminded of a blessing I had received on the mission by one of my greatest mission friends. In the blessing I was told 'to have the humility to accept the weaknesses of others.' I remember feeling pretty bothered by those words. I had been raised by my parents—especially my father—to always be diligent, always strive for perfection, always be considerate, and so I naturally expected others to push themselves just as hard. My father would always counsel me by saying the word 'prudencia,' prudence and that word really permeated into everything we did growing up.

It hit me today that while I may be able to forgive the BIG things people do, I have the HARDEST time forgiving little mistakes. I reflected on how I didn't have the best thoughts this week about certain people, but how I had thought to instantly pray for help. I had actually said a prayer of gratitude this week for that specific inspiration to pray.

I reflected on how this week I learned to love someone who honestly I hadn't been the biggest fan of. This however was completely MY problem. This young man came over to my apartment this week and as I was thinking about his visit beforehand, Mother's Teresa's words came into my mind, 'if you judge people, you have no time to love them.' Talk about a slap in the face! I decided to treat him to ice cream, came up with a list of #REALtalk questions for him and truly listened to his responses to those answers. I can honestly say that the ill feelings that I had towards him completely dissolved. I learned to love him! I even asked him for a hug before he left my apartment because in that moment I could feel the love Heavenly Father had for him and I saw his divine potential laid out before me. After having spent time with him this weekend, I feel so ashamed that I ever harbored ill feelings towards him.

I'm reminded of the story of Naaman and Elisha. Naaman was a leper who had sought the counsel of the prophet Elisha and when Elisha did not meet with him, but sent a servant to tell Naaman to wash himself in the river Jordan, Naaman was wroth and angry. I love these words
And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, wash, and be clean? 2 Kings 5:13
I have been a bit of a Naaman in that the big issues: I can forgive; the teeny tiny ones—not so much. I was reminded of Nephi speaking to his brothers about the children of Israel and the fiery serpents and how the Lord had a prepared a way for them to be healed, but "because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished." & so, I realized I haven't been doing as well as I thought I had been in this whole repentance process thing, but I'm grateful for the promptings of the spirit that help me to be a better version of myself.

Here's to a more forgiving heart!

This spiritual experience only gets better! I sent a text as I first started writing this to the Elder who gave me that blessing on the mission, below is a snippet of the conversation.

It's days like this that make me love Sundays even more! I love this gospel with all my heart and I am so grateful for the miracle of personal revelation.

...These pictures kind-of have to do with the story, but mostly are just pictures from 4th of July weekend—because this is my blog and I can.
Me, Ryan, Ethan, & Marisa putting in some work at the church's welfare farm in Lindon. It just seemed like the perfect way to celebrate this wonderful country we live in, you know?
Got to see Stadium of Fire from the greatest view you could possibly have without going.
Ryan & I taught a combined RS/EQ lesson today. It was the first time I had taught with a companion since the mission. It was kind of shaky at first due to some MAJOR time constraints, but it was also pretty amazing to feel the spirit direct a companionship again. Sadly, that is not our truck, but we wish! & we didn't even need to coordinate on the red-white-&blue combo. :) #inspired


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