Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Beauty of Forgiveness

The beautiful thing about forgiveness is that it can be given freely to all without asking anything in return. Forgiveness does not demand an apology from an offender, it doesn't require justice to be served, nor does it require forgiveness to be reciprocated. When we forgive ourselves as well as others who may have offended us or wronged us we are able to make the first steps to becoming happy.

James E. Faust said:
“Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves.”
"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 hurts does not bring happiness."

In order to forgive ourselves and others we must become humble, and selfless (un-selfish). One of the best tools I have learned in the forgiving process is to apologize even when you don't feel as though you need to apologize.

It is funny to me that through becoming selfless we are truly able to find ourselves. This being a difficult process by the very nature of man. I believe C. S. Lewis said it better than I when he said:
“The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. . . . What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come . . . the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

I began to first comprehend this concept during my time in brazil, but it didn't truly sink in until I locked eyes for the very first time with my daughter, and it only has been magnified during the past 3 (almost 4) years of her life. Dallin H. Oaks expressed it recently in a talk he gave about "Unselfish Service" where he said;
"...the sacrifice parents make for their children. Mothers suffer pain and loss of personal priorities and comforts to bear and rear each child. Fathers adjust their lives and priorities to support a family."

I recently tweeted, "Unselfishness is the pathway to happiness." while listening to Dallin H. Oaks talk I began to connect the dots where forgiveness and unselfishness are interwoven and connected. Whereby you can not forgive yourself or another without being unselfish, likewise you can not be unselfish without forgiving yourself and others.

I believe the one single emotion we all strive for in this life is happiness. Sadly the majority of us fall into the natural trap that C.S. Lewis described as being "the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."


  1. What a beautiful post- how wonderful. Are you preparing to give a talk or something? Just kidding. Thanks for sharing. I didn't know you are on twitter!! I'll have to start following you. I've never heard of that CS lewis quote- sad but true. I've seen it all around.

  2. Shane... Wow what a powerful and well stated post. Forgiveness a beautiful thing that is something we get the opportunity to exercise and daily. Thank goodness it makes us better people every time we get a chance to practice it. I really enjoy reading your blog and I want you to know how much I appreciate your input. Thanks your a great person and friend that has an incredible heart.


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