I witnesses such a sad situation a few months ago. Time has passed, and I think that I can talk about it a little. There was a woman in my town. She seemed nice to most of us. She had friends in town and there were people who went places with her and were friends with her. We never saw any family though, and heard rumors that she was estranged from them.
This woman died quite suddenly. Her children (imagine the shock of her neighbors and friends when they saw them coming into her home!) came and sold or gave away, literally everything. When it was all gone, they left as quickly as they came. They never had a memorial service or a funeral for their mother. They had her cremated and that was all.
One of the woman's friends told me that her children would never talk with her. That the mother had made some terrible mistakes many, many years ago. She tried to make amends, but her children would not have anything to do with her. She changed her life, started over, wrote letters, tried to visit, sent apologies, all to no avail. They could not forgive her past mistakes.
Now, I don't know what this mother did. I only know that she did try to change, and that her children could never accept her apology. They could never acknowledge her efforts or her repentance.
I thought this was so sad. I know forgiveness is hard. I know that it can hurt. I know that it can be a one of the most difficult things that we ever do. Nevertheless, I also know that the person it benefits the most is ourselves. When we forgive, we acknowledge the atonement of the Savior in our own lives. We remind ourselves that He really did suffer, bleed and die for our sins.
Forgiveness is all about freeing up and better using the emotions and feelings in our lives that cause us to feel hate, despair, anger and resentment. It is about learning to use our strengths and understand and accepting not only other people, but also ourselves.
I have learned that it doesn't take much of a man or a woman to find fault and belittle others. It does take a man or a woman to strengthen others and help them find the light of the Savior that runs through their lives.
The atonement truly brings us peace and comfort in our lives as we strive to be ever closer to Him. May we each do a little less judging, and a little more loving to all that we come in contact with today.
"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."James E. Faust
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