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Choose to Forgive

When we make the choice to forgive those who have hurt us, we free ourselves from unnecessary pain.

We all face hardships in our lives, and many of those hardships come as a direct result of other people’s actions. It is easy to wallow in victimhood when we find ourselves hurt by someone else’s choices, but doing so does not help us or bring us peace. However, there is a way to empower ourselves in times of suffering: we can forgive.

In his talk “The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness,” Elder Kevin R. Duncan explains how our efforts to forgive other people help facilitate our own spiritual recovery. When we forgive others, we find peace. 

"None of us should be defined only by the worst thing we have ever done." —Kevin R. Duncan
PHOTO BY GARY BARNES

On the other hand, when we refuse to forgive, it only brings us continued pain. As Elder Duncan puts it, “Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge.”

Not only does forgiving help our souls heal, but it also saves us from transgressions associated with resentment and bearing grudges. While we may be justified in judging someone’s behavior in a particular moment, we are not justified in judging that person to be incapable of changing beyond that moment. Indeed, as Elder Duncan states, “none of us should be defined only by the worst thing we have ever done.”

Many scriptures remind us that final judgment is reserved for God alone. “Behold what the scripture says—man shall not smite, neither shall he judge; for judgment is mine, saith the Lord, and vengeance is mine also, and I will repay” (Mormon 8:20). 

No matter how much we have been hurt by others, Christ entreats us to forgive. He says, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10).

Read more about the benefits of choosing to forgive in Elder Kevin R. Duncan’s full talk “The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness.”

Source: General Conference 

—Eli Gibbons, Latter-day Saint Insights

FEATURE IMAGE BY JONAS WIMMERSTRÖM

Find more insights

Learn about how forgiveness is an empowering alternative to taking offense in Kyme Lambson’s Latter-day Saint Insights article “Shake It Off.”

Discover more about how forgiveness can bring you mercy in Amy Davis’s Latter-day Saint Insights article “Judging Others—Just Stop It.”

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