Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Forgiveness and Trust

Someone once wrote and asked me to give them my opinion on Forgiveness and Trust. I wanted to include what I wrote to them here on my blog.

Forgiveness and Trust

Forgiveness and reestablishing trust in a person that has hurt us deeply is a process. We forgive for many reasons: 1. It is a commandment. 2. It is the only thing we can do if we want to learn to love unconditionally. 3. It is the only way to remove guile from our damaged hearts.
Forgiveness is the first step and demonstrates to the Lord, the other person and ourselves our willingness and desire to have things restored to their perfect frame again. It demonstrates that we want to carry on the process of loving someone that is not perfect. It demonstrates our acknowledgment that we are not perfect either and our desire and need to be forgiven by the Lord, others, and ourselves for our own transgressions. In short, in order to move forward in any way, forgiveness is not an option. That does not mean that it is easy, or that it happens immediately, or that wishing will make it so. It is work. It requires us to pray sincerely and often and sometimes it requires pleading with the Lord for charity towards that person with all the earnestness of heart we can muster. It requires that we go to the scriptures often. I feel that one of the things this accomplishes is that it demonstrates over and over and over again in a thousand different scenarios how keeping the commandments of God is the only way to find real happiness in this life.
If we do not have immediate trust in the offender, it does not mean we have not forgiven them. Although it could mean that, it may also mean that we are still working on the process of how the atonement actually heals. To move forward in our ability to trust we have to return to the first principle of the Gospel. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This requires us to think more deeply about the atonement and to increase our faith in its power to change us and the other person. We cannot trust again without effort on our part to want to move forward and to place our full trust in the Savior. To be restored both parties must come to this place in their spiritual journey separately. The beauty and the complexity in this lies in the fact that we can only change ourselves.
The offended person may come to the place of peace long before the offender realizes that their own ability to become trustworthy again depends on the atonement, as well. These changes in the individuals happen independent of each other. The irony is that both must travel the same path to achieve the change within themselves. That change is the restoration that only comes through Jesus Christ and His atonement. His is the only name under heaven whereby men can be saved in this life and the next. In some instances it will happen for one and not the other. The one who makes the effort can have perfect healing whether or not the other ever seeks to achieve it. It depends on our faith in the Savior, not on the apologies, restitution, or repentance of the other. I think this demonstrates the perfect love the Lord has for us as individuals and the total equity in the Gospel Plan.
Ideally it would be great if both were working on repairing the relationship at the same time, with the same degree of effort, understanding, spirituality, desire, etc. Realistically this is probably very rare, if not impossible.
One thing that moves us toward that like no other is having the same foundation or operating system to work within. This is why we are encouraged to pray and study together, attend meetings together, go to the temple together, have Family Home Evening, to give service to others, etc. Everything we are asked to do creates unity and helps us have a better understanding of the atonement and the central role of Jesus in our lives.
Forgiveness and trust come in no other way. The natural man is an enemy to God and that is where we harbor anger, resentment, thoughts of despair and retaliation, even hatred. Our personal relationship with the Savior is the only thing that can turn us around and help us reach our ultimate goals of perfect love, a desire to be righteous, and the ability to be resilient in a world that is often baffling, cruel, heartbreaking, and unfair. In our common foundation of Faith in Jesus Christ we can lay claim to the both Hope in our future and Charity towards those who offend us. Our own personal restoration and happiness depend on all three.


Miss Jen said...

I remember this well. It is still a hard thing for me. I don't trust people in general and once they wrong me I have a really hard time trusting again. It's like my expectations of them go down and I don't rely on them. It's hard one to over come. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

Bon's Blog by Design said...

I know what you mean, Honey! In fact one of the reasons I have put this in here is it has been on my desktop and so I thought I'd reread it the other day and it was like someone else talking. So I figured I better study it some more. I know I put a lot of thought into it at the time so maybe it can help us all from time to time as we need it. Anyway, my computer isn't long for this world and didn't want to lose it

Laura said...

Thank you for your wisdom; this is something I will be coming back to and rereading!