One of the titles that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, carries is the Prince of Peace. It is through him that we find peace, and one of the ways that happens is when we forgive others. Instead of writing about forgiveness in general, I want to talk about a specific type of forgiveness; and that is forgiving those who have not and may never apologize.
One of the most basic teachings of forgiveness is that when someone hurts us, they apologize/repent, and we forgive them. And when we hurt someone, we hope that they will forgive us when we apologize and repent. But what about when someone hurts us, and they don’t apologize, do we still forgive them? The answer is yes.
“I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.” (D&C 64:10)
There are several reasons why someone might not apologize to us: they might not know they hurt us, they might have moved on before we did, or they simply might not care. Whatever the situation, we forgive no matter what. In President James E. Faust’s iconic talk The Healing Power of Forgiveness, he 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 hurt does not bring happiness.”
Though I’ve been sealed to him for over 38 years, I came to understand, in a heartbeat, that his heart is my heart – literally – the moment the doctor informed us that Bob was in cardiac arrest and would need to be transferred immediately to another hospital. He was in pain. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. It felt like we were in the Twilight Zone. This can’t be happening. He’s too young (61) and in excellent physical condition. He’s that guy who’s never taken a break from physical activity since his high school basketball days. Among his greatest joys in life is still being able to take on some of the local high school basketball team players at the gym and occasionally beating them at 21. Which is exactly what he had just done, when he arrived home a little after 11 pm that fateful night.
I followed the ambulance the entire way to Temecula Valley Hospital where the cardiac team was waiting to take him immediately into the Cath Lab. The moment I understood the gravity of what was happening, prior to him being transferred, I left the ER so that I could get cell phone reception. In shock, I called my oldest daughter Jennette who lives nearby to tell her what was happening, but mostly to asked her to send her husband to administer a priesthood blessing. I barely made it through that conversation. My faith was in the knowledge of God’s Plan and I knew that Bob’s life was in His Hands – above all others. Continue reading →
Whenever same-sex attraction and/or same-sex marriage is discussed, the focus tends to be on those who are already seeking/living in a same-gender relationship (a.k.a. gay and lesbian). But there is a forgotten group that experience homosexuality and who feel like they don’t fit into either side: that is members of the Church who experience same-sex attraction (SSA)and fight their temptations every day. They work so hard to obey their parents, church leaders, and God. They are on a roller coaster of emotions as they strive to live the commandments and discover their place in the Church and within God’s plan. Some days they are doing great; they have hit a milestone in their journey and are feeling on top of the world. Other days, they might feel low, hated, or feel like they can never improve, never be loved or accepted. And in all of those moments, we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), as children of God (literal brothers and sisters), need to offer our unconditional love, support and friendship no matter what.
I cannot speak from personal experience about what it means to have SSA as a member of the Church, but I do observe as a very close bystander. I speak from my experience watching a very dear family member come out and try to find his place both in the world and at Church. I have always loved him. I have tried so hard to perfectly understand him, at all times, but there are so many times where I feel like I have failed him miserably. He is a beautiful son of God. I know that God loves him. As I have watched and been a part of his journey, I have learned a few things: Continue reading →
The door slammed shut as if it were shouting, “Goodbye old house!” I locked the door behind him and then stood in the kitchen with my hands shaking and my heart pounding. “Did I do the right thing?” I heard a noise behind me and turned to see my 5-year-old son looking at me with wide eyes. “Are you okay, buddy? I am so sorry. That was scary, wasn’t it?” He nodded as he climbed into my arms. Within a few minutes I felt a sense of calm and peace wash over me. This was the right choice for our situation, but it came at great cost to me and my little family. This was one of the most difficult days of my life – and my children’s. Our divorce was final several months later.
A few years later I arrived home after driving hundreds of miles across the desert so the kids could stay with their dad for most of the summer. As I walked through the door I immediately saw a note on the whiteboard in the hallway. It was in my son’s handwriting and read, “Goodbye old house…and mom.” It was one of many sweet notes that my kids have secretly left behind over the ensuing eight years since my marriage ended. These treasures are written in child’s scrawl and say things from “love you” to “miss you” to “be home soon” and have been found tacked to walls, left on tables, or written in steam on the bathroom mirror. Continue reading →
There are three words you never want to hear in the same sentence from a meteorologist with an urgent tone in his voice on the radio talking about your little Texas town. Those are ”active tornadic supercell”. Other bad words to hear shortly following those three are “imminent” and “get immediately in your shelter or the center of your home”. But that is what we heard just a couple of days ago, on Saturday evening, December 26, 2015. When I did, my priorities became crystal clear again.
We had just arrived home from a visit to our daughter’s in the north Houston area. Listening to the radio all the way home we knew of the weather situation. Our area was no longer just under a tornado watch but now a tornado warning. When that happens it means that not only are the conditions ripe for a tornadic event but that one has been spotted. When we got in the house we began our quick preparations. The tornado sirens in our community were blaring. We unloaded some of the things in our pantry under the stairs to make room for ourselves and got our rubber boots and coats, blankets, flashlights and candles, and patio furniture cushions to cover ourselves. We moved the radio to the closest electrical outlet to the pantry. I also grabbed the December Ensign in case we would be in there for a while, and of course, our cell phones. With supplies in place, I settled in while Chad was still scurrying around. That’s when we heard those words. A touchdown was imminent in our area as best as they could tell. Continue reading →
Every child needs a dad, even though each of us has a biological father. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we place the highest esteem on the use of the title: Father – as this is how we address our Father in Heaven. Here in mortality, I believe, that sacred designation is earned after one has proven himself a to be a Dad and for most this doesn’t come easy. It’s a lifelong journey of commitment (an inherent covenant), that begins at the birth of a child. This journey then, takes on the rigors of raising the child and continues through adulthood and ultimately till the end of days – never.
“The Lord’s plan of salvation requires that you pass through trials in this mortal life. Those trials seem to be greatest when you reach fatherhood, but be assured—fatherhood, in a sense, is an apprenticeship to godhood.”
Recently, The Huffington Post did a series of interviews on various religions, asking select members of each faith how their church views sexuality. This controversial subject is one that is often misrepresented amongst members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Where those interviewed did a fair job in answering the questions, it’s clear that the world really doesn’t understand what Mormons believe when it comes to sexually related topics. For instance, within the LDS faith masturbation and pornography are never okay — before or after marriage or within the marriage relationship.
Mormons are very much like other religious people. We follow what the scriptures say. We believe that keeping one’s self pure and free of sexual sin brings one closer to God and brings happiness into one’s life. We believe that good is still good, and evil is still evil. Our prophets have reminded us to be sensitive and respectful, to those who struggle with sexual or gender identity, but by the same token, we desire to be respected for our own beliefs. Continue reading →
When we find ourselves caught up in measuring how much we are loved (especially when it’s done according to the romantic standards of the world) we’re bound to be disappointed. Instead, I think we better serve ourselves and others when we look to the teachings of Jesus Christ— He who is the ultimate example of what it means to truly love.
The first and great commandment is to love God and put Him first — above all else. The second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. I truly believe that we fulfill the first commandment (to love God) by keeping the second (to love others as ourselves). I can’t think of anywhere in the scriptures that we are taught to be concerned about how much other people love us — only that we are to love others as God loves them and we are to do it in the way that we desire to be loved. That’s a pretty interesting standard if you think about it.
Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not down on shows of romantic affection. In fact, I quite love them. My only concern is for those who struggle with these types of recognition days. Rather, we should instead focus on what it means to genuinely love versus focusing on the romantic kind of love that is marketed at every turn. Continue reading →
As a child, reading 4th Nephi, I yearned to join the community they made. As an adult I have pondered how. How can we build Zion?
Often from the pulpit, we hear, “I love each and every one of you.” And in a way, I am sure those who say that really do. In a calling of service, I know that one cannot help love those whom they serve. And after all, we are commanded to love everyone and it is great that so many people are trying to do just that. But I just don’t feel particularly loved from the person who says, “I love you each and every one of you,” at the pulpit but doesn’t seem to know that I exist in any other circumstance. Continue reading →
Have you ever felt left out at church, like you don’t fit into your ward, or that even as an adult, you are still not one of the “cool kids”? Have you felt like your ward does not need you and that maybe people in your ward feel like they would be better off without you there? If you have, you are not alone.
I have had the opportunity to live in many wards in various geographical locations in Canada and the United States. In every ward, there have been at least some people who feel left out and not a part of the ward culture, and in some wards, there have been many people who have felt that way. Sometimes, I have felt that way myself.
Feeling unwanted, unneeded, or even an outcast in our wards causes heartache. Sometimes, we may be causing our own isolation. For me, there have been times when I felt rejected by members of my ward and essentially isolated myself by sitting alone in the corner, not talking to anyone and not attending the activities. But most of the time, I think sisters feel isolated because the general population of the ward is not willing to open up and let other people into their inner circles. Some wards and some Relief Societies do have cliques.