There has never been a time where forgiveness is more necessary than it is today. We need to learn to forgive quickly and often.
In a recent family scripture study, my 13 year old sister in law began her thoughts with “Something we all need to do better at, is forgiveness. We say we forgive others, but we bring up those hurt feelings from the past when we should have let them go. “
“Become really, really good at forgiving. “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10). Forgive everyone, everything, all the time, or at least strive to do so, thus allowing forgiveness into your own life. Don’t hold grudges, don’t be easily offended, forgive and forget quickly, and don’t ever think that you are exempt from this commandment. Spiritual confidence increases when you know that the Lord knows that you bear no ill feelings toward another soul. ” –By Elder Jörg Klebingat
(Inspired by Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel)
Read each item below carefully. Decide how true that statement is about you, and choose the most appropriate response from the response key. Write your response to each item in your study journal. Spiritual growth is a gradual process, and no one is perfect, so you should expect to rate yourself better on some items than on others.
1 = never
2 = sometimes
3 = often
4= almost always
___ I feel a sincere desire for the eternal welfare and happiness for all people. No exceptions. (Mosiah 28:3)
“As impossible as it may seem to you now, in time the healing you can receive from the Savior will allow you to truly forgive.”5—Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015)
___ When I pray, I pray for those who have hurt me. I also ask for charity—the pure love of Christ. (Moroni 7:47–48)
“The Savior’s Atonement is not just for those who need to repent; it is also for those who need to forgive. If you are having trouble forgiving another person or even yourself, ask God to help you. Forgiveness is a glorious, healing principle.”7—Elder Kevin R. Duncan
___ I still remember what happened, but I don’t continually think about and analyze the event.
“The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. …
“… To be tied to earlier mistakes is the worst kind of wallowing in the past from which we are called to cease and desist.”—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
___ I let go of the pain and hurt I’ve experienced.
“Let us bind up the wounds … that have been caused by cutting words, by stubbornly cultivated grievances, by scheming plans to ‘get even’ with those who may have wronged us. … Fortunately, we all have the power to rise above it, if we will ‘clothe [ourselves] with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.’ (D&C 88:125.)”2—President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008)
___ I pardon others faults, because I too am imperfect.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”—Romans 3:23
___ I turn the judgment of others sins to God and allow Him to relieve the Burden
“To forgive is not to condone. We do not rationalize bad behavior or allow others to mistreat us because of their struggles, pains, or weaknesses.”—Elder Kevin R. Duncan
____ I forgive every time someone hurts me. There’s no limit.
However, Forgiveness isn’t the same as a Trusting relationship. We are also responsible to set boundaries to keep ourselves safe. “The Savior asks us to forsake and combat evil in all its forms, and although we must forgive a neighbor who injures us, we should still work constructively to prevent that injury from being repeated.”4—Elder David E. Sorensen
___ I forgive even if they have not repented or changed their behavior.
“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 64:10–11Nothing will help us more to forgive others than coming unto Christ. He is the Master Healer. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”—Matthew 11:28
Finding Christ for healing
I once harbored ill feeling towards a man who I felt had wronged me. I wanted him to apologize for the hurt he had caused me. I wanted “closure.” I told the story of how it happened again and again, not just to my friends and family, but to myself. I felt justified in carrying the pain and being the victim. But then one day, my perspective on forgiveness changed forever.
It changed when I felt the redeeming power of the Savior’s forgiveness towards me. I tell the full story of that experience in my post “Jesus and You“, but in short, once I felt the power of the atonement I couldn’t withhold my forgiveness from someone else. The Lord told me, “As I’ve forgiven you, how could you not forgive this man?” As we draw closer to the Savior, we will have greater capacity to forgive and be healed.
Scriptures Typify of Christ
“All things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of [Jesus Christ]” (2 Ne. 11:4). I once did an activity where I searched for ways old testament stories paralleled the life of Christ. The way these ancient prophets “Typified” Him- as Nephi put it. I’ll share some examples- as you read the story- think of two people the stories are about.
He was the first child, set to be an example for us. He had to descend below all things- or would be left a lone man in the garden. All men have life because of him.
This story is about Adam and Christ.
Here’s another one
He was the great lawgiver and deliverer of Israel. He was foreordained in premortal life to a great work. He was a judge and taught of the atonement. He had control over the elements, especially the waters. He provided food for his people. He was known as the meekest of men.
This story is about Moses and Christ
I’ll share a chart for this next one
|Old Testament||THE MESSIAH|
|He was the beloved son of his father (see Gen. 37:3).||Jesus Christ was Heavenly Father’s well-beloved Son (see Matt. 3:17).|
|He was rejected by his brothers (see Gen. 37:4).||Jesus was rejected by the leaders of His people, the Jews (see Isa. 53:3; John 1:11).|
|He was sold at the urging of his brother Judah into the hands of Gentiles (see Gen. 37:25–27).||Jesus was sold by Judas, a form of the name Judah, and delivered over to Gentiles, the Romans (see Matt. 27:3).|
|He was sold for 20 pieces of silver, the price of a slave his age (see Gen. 37:28).||Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave His age (see Matt. 26:15).|
|The attempt to get rid of Him eventually led to the temporal salvation of His family (see Gen. 45:4–5).||The attempt to destroy Jesus led to the Atonement and salvation for Heavenly Father’s family (see 2 Ne. 9:7–8).|
|He was age 30 when he began his mission (see Gen. 41:46).||Jesus was age 30 when He began His mortal ministry (see Luke 3:23).|
|All knees bowed to Him when he became a ruler in Egypt (see Gen. 41:43).||All knees will eventually bow to Jesus (see D&C 88:104).|
|He generously provided food to his family (see Gen. 42:33, 35).||Jesus, the Bread of Life, freely offers salvation to all mankind (see John 6:34–35; 2 Ne. 9:50).|
These stories are about
Joseph and Jesus
There are many more. As we seek to see Christ, we will find him.
But there is one story in particular with this lense of looking for Christ, we can learn about the Power of forgiveness available through the Savior. This story as done a great deal for me personally to be able to forgive others.
It’s the story of David and Abigail.
I love the story of David in the Old Testament. He was a courageous young man who slew a lion, a bear, and famous for killing the Philistine giant Goliath (1 Sam. 17). David was a shepherd boy of Israel who “behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him” (1 Samuel 18:14).” While he was just a boy, he was anointed to become king, not because of his countenance, or on the height of his stature, but because “the Lord looketh on the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7
David gained instant fame. He was even more popular than the king at the time, Saul. Saul was jealous. That jealousy and angry lead to Saul devising a plan to have David Killed. 1 Samuel 18:17–27
David found refuge with the prophet Samuel and received help from other people, including some priests. But Saul continued to be so jealous of David that he killed the priests who had helped David.
David was forced to flee into the wilderness and live as a Fugitive with the other outcasts.
So imagine the scene
A sweltering Hot desert with a large body of unruly looking men. The outcasts. The vagabonds of the Old Testament if you will. Treated as criminals and shunned from civilization. Deprived of food, water, and the gentle touch of a woman. 600 men alone in the desert with no purpose and no direction. Their beards are full and wild, their leathery faces and hands chaffed and dry. Surrounded only by the hills of sand and the rugged peaks thrusting heavenwards here and there in the far distance.
This is where we find David. The prophesied king. The war hero of faith.
An outcast in the wilderness.
There was a rich man named Nabal who had a great bounty of sheep in the wilderness. He only had a few servant shepherds to care for these sheep. David and his men could have easily stolen the sheep in the justification of survival. But they didn’t. If fact, they did just the opposite. They protected the shepherds and sheep from the attacking Bedouin Tribesmen that were frequent in the land. Due to David’s protection- None of the sheep were lost. Nabal’s shearers came, got the sheep, and gathered back to Nabal’s Estate to shear and celebrate their plenty.
Yet David and his men were left completely unrecognized for their service. Nabal certainly knew who David was, and must have been aware of not only his service to his country by slaying Goliath, but also his personal service in providing protection his flocks. As provisions were running short and their needs were dire, David sent a few young men requesting any help Nabal could offer to save them.
4 And David heard in the wilderness that Nabal did shear his sheep.
5 And David sent out ten young men, and David said unto the young men, Get you up to Carmel, and go to Nabal, and greet him in my name:
6 And thus shall ye say to him that liveth in prosperity, aPeace be both to thee, and bpeace be to thine house, and peace be unto all that thou hast.
7 And now I have heard that thou hast shearers: now thy shepherds which were with us, we hurt them not, neither was there ought missing unto them, all the while they were in Carmel.
8 Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.
1 Samuel 25: 4-8 So basically David sent some young men to say “Hey Nabal, we come on behalf of David. He wants you to know that he wishes you well and he’s happy that your prospering right now. He protected your sheep and men while he was in the wilderness. Just ask your men, they’ll vouch for our good works. If you could send any sort of help, we would appreciate it.”
To which Nabal Responded with “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse?”
Even though Nabal knew who David was, He denied him. He left David and his men to perish for want of food and provisions. Why did he do this? We may not know all the motives but the scriptures do tell us that Nabal was “churlish and evil in his doings” (1 Samuel 25: 3)
“So David’s young men turned their way,” and came and told David what had happened.
David was angry. He said, “Surely in vain have I kept all that this fellow hath in the wilderness, so that nothing was missed of all that pertained unto him: and he hath a requited me evil for good.” David good act – was rewarded him as an evil one.
“And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff. ” (Verse 13)
400 Angry men, were on their way to Carmel to destroy Nabal and his household. They had been wronged and mistreated.
But luckily one of the shepherd servants who was protected by David Men in the wilderness told Nabal’s wife, Abigail. She “was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance:” (verse 3) The servant told her how the men “very good unto us, and we were not hurt, neither missed we any thing…they were a wall unto us both by night and day, all the while we were with them keeping the sheep.” He also told her how her husband had denied helping these men and responded unkindly.
Now lets read…
18 ¶ Then Abigail made haste, and took two hundred loaves, and two bottles of wine, and five sheep ready dressed, and five measures of parched corn, and an hundred clusters of raisins, and two hundred cakes of figs, and laid them on asses.
19 And she said unto her servants, Go on before me; behold, I come after you. But she told not her husband Nabal.
20 And it was so, as she rode on the ass, that she came down aby the covert of the hill, and, behold, David and his men came down against her; and she met them.
23 And when Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground,
24 And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid.
25 Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even aNabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.
26 Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.
27 And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord.
28 I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid: for the Lord will certainly make my lord a asure bhouse; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.
29 Yet a man is risen to pursue thee, and to seek thy soul: but the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God; and the souls of thine enemies, them shall he sling out, as out of the middle of a sling.
30 And it shall come to pass, when the Lord shall have done to my lord according to all the good that he hath spoken concerning thee, and shall have appointed thee ruler over Israel;
31 That this shall be no grief unto thee, nor offence of heart unto my lord, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself: but when the Lord shall have dealt well with my lord, then remember thine handmaid.
32 ¶ And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me:
33 And blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.
34 For in very deed, as the Lord God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal…
35 So David received of her hand that which she had brought him, and said unto her, Go up in peace to thine house; see, I have hearkened to thy voice, and have accepted thy person.
This is an incredible story. Here David was, armed for battle, resolved to wipe out an entire household, and within just a few moments later he wished peace again on that household. How did that happen? How does that apply to us?
Abigail is a type of Christ.
Consider for a moment the symbolism of this story. Who’s sins did Abigail atone for? At first glance, you might think she was atoning for the sins of her husband, Nabals. And while she did take upon herself his sins- Nabal isn’t the one who’s redeemed in this story. In fact, Nabal never repents.
Abigail came to David, not Nabal. The atonement was really for him. It was for his sins. David carried a sinful heart, a heart that burned with envy and rage.
The Atonement is not just for the sinner, it’s the sinned against.
Note, how Abagial represents the Savior in this story
David was wronged by Nabal. In his pain “Abigail made haste,” Just as the Savior “shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:11-12)
Abigail literally came running in David’s time of need. Teaching about the word succor, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated: “[Succor] is used often in the scriptures to describe Christ’s care for and attention to us. It means literally ‘to run to.’ What a magnificent way to describe the Savior’s urgent effort in our behalf. Even as he calls us to come to him and follow him, he is unfailingly running to help us” (“Come unto Me” [CES fireside for young adults, Mar. 2, 1997],
She came with two hundred loaves of bread, just as the savior fed multitudes with bread and is the bread of life. She came with wine- just as the Savior turned water into wine. She came with sheep, corn, raisins, and figs- all foods we have seen symbolically used in the scriptures. What more, she came riding on a donkey.
But the deep meaning is found when she reaches David. “Forgive the trespass of thine handmaid!” She had committed no trespass. And yet she begged David to forgive her all the same- not Nabal. But her, as if she was the one who had done the wrong. She claimed the sin as her own.
Just as the Savior takes upon himself the sins of others and asks us to forgive.
Abigail’s Message was the forgiveness was the one forgiving not for the one who was being forgiven. David needed to forgive so that “he would continue to be found without evil, so that the Lord could make him a sure house” David might have felt justified in withholding this forgiveness from Nabal, however sinful such withholding might have been, but from Abigail? No her offering on behalf of another obliterated every justification David might otherwise have had. She freed him from the blind comfort of his grudges. Through this merciful act, she created for David the most forgiveness-friendly environment that could possibly be created. David was never more able to do what he needed most to do-forgive, or more precisely, repent of his failing to forgive.
The Lord atonement is such, that you can let Him deal with the sins of others, and you can forgive it and let it go. When we withhold forgiveness from others, we are in effect saying that the atonement alone was insufficient to pay for this sin. We are holding out for more. We are finding fault with the Lord’s offering. But it is an infinite atonement. The Savior has done no wrong. The people who have wronged you don’t need your forgiveness, You need it! You need to forgive, not for them, but for you.
Forgive yourself. Forgive Others. Forgive Circumstances. Every day. Let the Atonement take care of all your needs- just as Abigail came to take care of David’s.