Today is Father's Day and I have been pondering in my heart what gift or sign I could give to show love for my Father in Heaven. Tonight I even decided to ask Him in prayer. And I did eventually 'hear Him.'
So softly, it was whispered in my heart, "Teach others that forgiveness is the way to peace."
Of that truth, I would like to bear personal witness. I have written about this before, but I will write about it again. I am not perfect at forgiveness, but I seek the One who is perfect, the Master Healer, and He helps me forgive even myself for that weakness. He has paid the price for the pains we are clinging to. We can let go and be renewed through the infinite and eternal atonement of Jesus Christ.
The best way I might bear witness that forgiveness truly is the way to indescribable peace is to share some pieces of a personal experience I had earlier this year. It was a soul-stretching experience that will be hard to put into words. From this point forward, I will simply share the notes I took about the experience, because if I attempt to edit this I will never hit publish. (This is not the type of thing I would usually share in this format).
March 17, 2021
I was pondering a talk by President Nelson, and D&C 25, as he encouraged us to do in that talk. I felt drawn by the spirit to ponder more deeply the word murmur.
Murmur feels like a combination of seemingly justified anger and fear.
I feel like I've worked with the Lord a lot on my fear, but I haven't been willing to truly see or process my anger.. I try to hide that even from myself for the shame of it and the simultaneous sense of justified clinging to it.
'We can look at this if you'd like,' Christ said. 'Let's pick just one someone you've been angry with.'
I pictured the person and ached with pain at how angry I've felt/feel over their hurtful behavior. I instantly felt a sense of how heavy that feeling was and how the feeling caused me even more pain than the person ever could.
'You can let go now, you know.'
'I showed the way on the cross.'
I pondered His words 'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.'
I know this person does not know. I feel they truly do not understand or have the capacity to 'get it' with their emotional scars and mentality/perspective about life/mortal condition. I know this person is wounded and there are reason for the unhealthy patterns that cause pain and frustration in my life. I truly do ache for the painful circumstances this person has been through. I have compassion and logically recognize that the person is coping the best they know how. But the ramifications of their behavior have caused deep hurts in me.
'Can you forgive her and free yourself?'
I'll try. I will really try.
I tried. I tried to picture this person in front of me and sincerely saying 'I forgive you.'
I couldn't do it.
All I could think was how this person would reply with unhealthy dynamics in play, causing more hurt, frustration, and need for forgiveness. I knew the Savior understood and felt this, but I was spiraling in the wrong direction, even in the midst of this very spiritual experience.
I tried to think of what this person might be like in the divine nature, having been healed of the dark, heavy burdens that have brought darkness into their life, but I couldn't even imagine this person acting differently.
I begged God to teach me through the spirit how to accomplish what I knew I was being asked to do. I did know it was possible. But I needed help.
Please help me know how to do this because I truly want to.
'I have taken their infirmities upon me. And they have taken my name upon them.'
Then in my efforts to visualize myself standing in front of this person and forgiving them, I could now visualize Jesus Christ standing between us, in front of this person.
'Can you forgive now?'
I forgive you.
The words came freely. Truly. With ease and sincerity, they poured from my heart.
My eyes were blurry from the tears, so I made an effort to refocus on Him. When I did, I noticed He was holding this person as a baby, and the baby had wounds and scars all over.
I forgive you! I forgive you! I forgive you! So freely the feeling of forgiveness, far beyond words, filled the space between us.
Christ then invited me to see what I had been holding onto so I could see that it is not me and it is not this other person, so I could more quickly let it go. It was a black, jagged rock, I thought. But when I leaned in, it was actually a story... It was words, thoughts, beliefs, perpetuated and spun into this heavy black ball.
Of course I couldn't wait to let it go. I really did want to let this go.
It was too heavy. So I dropped it. I planned on stepping over it so I watched it fall. But when it landed, it became a HUGE mountain.
I was terrified. I looked for my Savior, but could not find Him. I was scared.
Did I do it wrong? Did the adversary interfere?
I couldn't see Him, but I heard Christ explain that I had been carrying only a small portion, enough that I could bare it but heavy and painful enough that it would eventually bring me to Him. I had carried a tiny pebble in comparison to the mammoth that He carried.
I told Him I was sorry.
This sorry wasn't just words. It was an exhale, a breathing out of the words, but in the breath was wrapped up ANY justification for myself or condemnation to others. I just had this recognition of how wrong and sinful unforgiveness truly is.
I'm sorry. Please forgive me. The thoughts flowed between my Savior and I and between this person.
'Can I lift you above the mammoth?'
His hand reached over. He was right next to me.
We lifted up together by an umbrella.
We stopped on top of the mountain.
He pointed my eyes in every direction. 'See how clear things are from here.'
I looked around in every direction again. The shadow of the mountainous stories behind us loomed over the path I had been on. But the view up ahead was brighter.
I noticed the baby again, this time in His heart.
'Press forward in faith,' He said, gently encouraging me to go on.
So I stepped off the mountain.
I thought perhaps the umbrella would carry us. I wasn't really sure, but I knew I could trust Him.
But I caught my breath as, instead, the path ahead lifted UP to me!
'No need to go back down,' He wisely counseled.
I was on my own, even though I knew I was in His heart always.
I pictured myself there, where I had seen the baby. Wrapped in glorious light. Safe forever. Loved beyond comprehension.
Even the thought of that light and warmth caused a light to pour out of my own heart and my heart 'swelled wide as eternity.' The radiating light filled the mountain and path behind me, the way in front of me, the sky above. In every direction, further than I could see.
I am in Him. And He is in me.