12. My Peace I Give unto You
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
When faced with the consequences of our loved ones’ poor choices, we may complain or become bitter. We sometimes ask questions such as “Why does this have to happen to me?” “Why do I have to suffer this now?” or “What have I done to deserve this?” Although these questions may initially dominate our thoughts and absorb our energy, we can choose to respond differently to our circumstances. We can ask ourselves, “What does the Lord want me to learn from this?” “What would He have me do? Who can I serve?” and “How can I remember my blessings?” Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be free from the consequences of our loved ones' poor choices. It is important to remember that He did not give us these trials—rather, they are a result of our loved ones’ poor choices. But Heavenly Father can use our trials to help us grow, progress, and become more like Him (see D&C 122).
As we exercise faith, we can feel the purifying influence and peace of His Spirit, and He will replace “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3).
As we cry unto the Lord, He will bless and comfort us in significant ways. While we may not always receive exactly what we ask for, the Lord is still blessing us. The people of Alma were not immediately released from bondage, but “the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens” (Mosiah 24:15). With the Lord’s help, we can find peace.
What will you do to find peace?
How have you found peace from Heavenly Father and the Savior?
Part of the process of offering forgiveness is letting go of burdens that keep us from experiencing the Savior’s peace. President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “A spirit of forgiveness and an attitude of love and compassion toward those who may have wronged us is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (“Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Ensign, June 1991, 2). We will find healing as we forgive others. President James E. Faust taught: “It will take humility to do this, but if we will get on our knees and ask Heavenly Father for a feeling of forgiveness, He will help us. The Lord requires us ‘to forgive all men’ [D&C 64:10] for our own good because ‘hatred [hinders] spiritual growth’ [Orson F. Whitney, Gospel Themes (1914), 144]. Only as we rid ourselves of hatred and bitterness can the Lord put comfort into our hearts” (“The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 69).
Forgiveness does not mean that we condone our loved ones’ poor choices or allow them to mistreat us. But forgiveness does allow us to move forward spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Just as our loved ones are in bondage, our unwillingness to forgive can hold us captive. As we forgive, we leave behind feelings that, in the words of President Thomas S. Monson, have the power to “canker, fester, and ultimately destroy” (“Hidden Wedges,” Ensign, May 2002, 20). In this way, we eliminate barriers to having the Spirit more abundantly and we can continue on the path of discipleship. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminds us, “Heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive” (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 77).
How has forgiveness blessed you?
Seeking God’s Help to Forgive
When forgiveness seems beyond our capability, we can rely on the Savior to help change our hearts and grant us the gift of charity. Forgiving someone when we have been wronged or hurt can be very difficult—especially when these offenses are regularly repeated. But this is part of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. President Uchtdorf taught:
“Jesus said it is easy to love those who love us; even the wicked can do that. But Jesus Christ taught a higher law. . . . ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ . . .
“The pure love of Christ can remove the scales of resentment and wrath from our eyes, allowing us to see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us” (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” 76).
We may need to be patient with ourselves as we work toward forgiving our loved ones. President Faust said:
“Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours. The folly of rehashing long-past hurts does not bring happiness. . . .
“If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being (“The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” 68). If we will trust in the Lord and seek His aid, he can help us to forgive, even as He does.
When has God helped you forgive?
How can God help you forgive now?
As you study the resources listed below, prayerfully consider how you can apply the principles they teach.
Matthew 18:21–35 (We should forgive others as the Lord freely forgives us.)
Luke 7:36–50 (We can feel the love of the Savior when we are forgiven.)
Alma 5:12–14 (The Lord can bring about a mighty change in our hearts.)
Doctrine and Covenants 45:3–5 (Because of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, we can be forgiven.)
Doctrine and Covenants 64:10 (We are required to forgive everyone.)
James E. Faust, “The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 67–69
Yoshihiko Kikuchi, “The Healer’s Art,” Ensign, Mar. 2011, 44–49; Liahona, Mar. 2011, 18–23
Richard G. Scott, “Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse,” Ensign, May 1992, 31–33
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 70, 75–77
Personal Learning and Application
The following activities are to enhance your learning and application of these principles. Keep a journal of your thoughts, feelings, insights, and plans to implement what you learn. As the needs and circumstances in your life change, repeating these activities will provide you with new insights.
Study and ponder President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s talk “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” and look for principles about forgiveness. What did you learn? How will the Lord help you forgive your loved one? What do you feel prompted to do?
Watch the video “Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light.” What did you learn about forgiveness? How will forgiveness be a blessing to you? How can forgiveness be a blessing to your loved one?
Answer the following questions: “Why is it sometimes hard to forgive? How can we overcome these difficulties?” Look for additional insights to answer these questions in Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi’s talk “The Healer’s Art.” Ponder how the Lord helped others forgive and how He can help you. Record your thoughts in a journal.
Watch “Come What May, and Love It.” What do you learn that applies to your current situation? How can you endure well? What is the purpose of adversity? How can you find peace amid affliction?
Study Elder Richard G. Scott’s talk “Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse,” and ponder the following passage: “During prolonged recovery from massive surgery, a patient anticipates complete healing in patience, trusting in others’ care. He does not always understand the importance of the treatment prescribed, but his obedience speeds recovery. So it is with you. . . . You cannot erase what has been done, but you can forgive (see D&C 64:10). Forgiveness heals terrible, tragic wounds, for it allows the love of God to purge your heart and mind of the poison of hate. It cleanses your consciousness of the desire for revenge. It makes place for the purifying, healing, restoring love of the Lord” (“Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse,” Ensign, May 1992, 32–33). What do you learn about forgiveness from Elder Scott’s words? How does it relate to your ability to extend forgiveness to your loved one?
Consider the principles found in these hymns and songs: “Where Can I Turn for Peace?“ (Hymns, no. 129); “Father in Heaven“ (Hymns, no. 133); “As the Shadows Fall“ (Hymns, no. 168); “Master, the Tempest Is Raging“ (Hymns, no. 105); “Did You Think to Pray?“ (Hymns, no. 140); “Help Me, Dear Father“ (Children’s Songbook, no. 99).