The last two days I have been immersed in trying to listen to our modern day prophets and apostles teachings as they speak in a world wide general conference. This has proven rather challenging with our highly sleep deprived almost 2 year old present.
Noble is sick and we are struggling to get him to sleep now that he won't stay in a crib. Naps have become almost totally impossible. I think we managed to get a 20 minute power nap in today. And considering the fact that he woke up for the day at 4 am it has been a bit crazy. But I digress ...
I did have one thought today as I listened to conference that I felt was worth blogging. I am not sure the talk being given addressed this topic specifically but it spurred a few thoughts on forgiveness in my own mind.
I think the talk was on repentance. As I listened I started thinking about forgiveness. I was thinking about how forgiving the Lord is when we turn to Him in sincere repentance. Whether the sin is great or small, the Lord is so generous to forgive the repentant sinner.
The Savior has instructed us to forgive our fellowman. It is not even our place to decide if forgiveness is merited by the sinner, we are simply to forgive and leave judgement to the Savior, who truly knows the state of the heart. Forgiving is actually a service to ourselves. It removes the bitterness of anger and revenge from our hearts and allows us to move past our sorrows and pain to a place of peace, regardless of whether the offender is sorry or not.
Some things are harder to completely forgive than others of course. Some things are so difficult to forgive they require the help of the Savior himself to let go of the pain. But I do believe forgiveness is always possible with the help of the Savior and it is always the best path for us.
As I thought about this, I thought about how so often the times it is hardest to dole out forgiveness is when the offender is yourself. Sometimes it seems that we must be the last person to forgive ourselves and if anyone is still hurting from our actions, including ourselves, we must hold that grudge and blame. The tragedy of this just hit me as I was listening.
What a tool Satan has in this self destructive pattern. I thought of a conversation I had with one my children a few days after Camille died. This child felt Camille's death was her fault. It wasn't. Any small thing any one of us did that day could have made that day different. It wasn't anyone's fault. Certainly not this child's. To hear her express this feeling literally broke my heart.
I talked to her about the difference between failing to prevent a tragedy and causing one to happen. I told her it was not her job to prevent such things. I told her that if she needed to blame someone, she could blame me. But the Truth was that it wasn't anyone's fault. It just happened and I felt strongly that it was Camille's time to go and if she hadn't drowned that day she would have died some other way and maybe some more painful way. We just can't know for sure.
And as I talked to her, I could see my Heavenly Father feeling the very same emotions I was anytime I blamed myself for not keeping Camille safe that day. The experience helped me forgive myself.
When we neglect to forgive ourselves once the Savior has forgiven us, we place ourselves as a higher judge than Him. I know how difficult it can be to forgive ourselves when we have either knowingly or unknowingly caused great pain to ourselves or others. But we are commanded to forgive all men, ourselves included. And I know that with the Savior's help, it is ALWAYS possible and it is always the best path.