Elder Jeffrey R. Holland spoke on “the Ministry of Reconciliation” in his talk at October 2018 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Since this is one of my favorite subjects I love this talk!
He told a story about a father leaving the church for a time, his children’s longing for the family to be one in their relationship with the Lord. It was a faith and feeling promoting story.
I too was inactive in the churh for much of my life and today I feel the loss of my children not worshipping with me today because of it. They are respectful of my attendance and my beliefs, but they choose not to be active in the church right now.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus has asked that we “live together in love” with “no disputations among you.” “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me,” He warned the Nephites. Indeed, to a great degree, our relationship to Christ will be determined—or at least affected—by our relationship to each other.
I know that when my spirit is burdened with resentment my relationship with the Lord is not what it should be.
I practice forgiving every one, for every thing whether they ask for it or not. I don’t forgive for others. I forgive for me. I like the freedom that comes with not carrying any resentments. I have been doing this for over a decade now. No, I am not perfect at it, and sometimes it may take me a day or two of praying for the person, but I DO NOT allow myself to carry those toxic feelings.
“Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven,” Christ taught in New Testament times. And in our day: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” It is, however, important for some of you living in real anguish to note what He did not say. He did not say, “You are not allowed to feel true pain or real sorrow from the shattering experiences you have had at the hand of another.” Nor did He say, “In order to forgive fully, you have to reenter a toxic relationship or return to an abusive, destructive circumstance.” But notwithstanding even the most terrible offenses that might come to us, we can rise above our pain only when we put our feet onto the path of true healing. That path is the forgiving one walked by Jesus of Nazareth, who calls out to each of us, “Come, follow me.”
In such an invitation to be His disciple and to try to do as He did, Jesus is asking us to be instruments of His grace—to be “ambassadors for Christ” in “the ministry of reconciliation,” as Paul described it to the Corinthians. The Healer of every wound, He who rights every wrong, asks us to labor with Him in the daunting task of peacemaking in a world that won’t find it any other way.
I love the above paragraph from his talk.`He always, always speaks to my heart in his talks. I love that he remembers to tell those burdened with so much how they can forgive and let go of the burden without putting themselves in more physical or mental danger. It is easy to justify resentment. And it is harder some days to practive forgiveness when it is attached to true “anguish”. BUT, it can be done. I know, I have forgiven abuse. I have let go of the poisoning that resentment causes.
If you are reading this and you think that it is too hard to forgive, please, please know that you can do it!!! You can let go of the poisonous part of those feelings and allow yourself to heal!
So, as Phillips Brooks wrote: “You who are letting miserable misunderstandings run on from year to year, meaning to clear them up some day; you who are keeping wretched quarrels alive because you cannot quite make up your mind that now is the day to sacrifice your pride and [settle] them; you who are passing men sullenly upon the street, not speaking to them out of some silly spite … ; you who are letting … [someone’s] heart ache for a word of appreciation or sympathy, which you mean to give … some day, … go instantly and do the thing which you might never have another chance to do.”
With the apostolic authority granted me by the Savior of the world, I testify of the tranquility to the soul that reconciliation with God and each other will bring if we are meek and courageous enough to pursue it. “Cease to contend one with another,” the Savior pled. If you know of an old injury, repair it. Care for one another in love.
I whole heartedly agree with that sentiment!!! I personally know of the peace and serenity that comes from seeking forgiveness from God, receiving it and then basking in the joy of cleanliness that comes with it. I also know of the freedom for my soul of having no resentments to cloud or dirty the beauty that life can be.
My beloved friends, in our shared ministry of reconciliation, I ask us to be peacemakers—to love peace, to seek peace, to create peace, to cherish peace. I make that appeal in the name of the Prince of Peace, who knows everything about being “wounded in the house of [His] friends” but who still found the strength to forgive and forget—and to heal—and be happy. For that I pray, for you and for me, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
I testify that the Lord, Jesus Christ is ready, willing and waiting to help you forgive and forget. He loves you in a way that I just don’t have the words to describe. I know that life can be sweet and there can be peace amidst the waves of emotion that this life brings on! Please don’t stay in the poison. You don’t have to, Jesus paid the price for all of us to be able to have peace by looking to him for it! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.