Forgiveness is a miraculous gift. It is a gift freely given to every human being who walks the earth. Yet, it is the gift probably the least utilized, even by people who know Jesus Christ and profess to believe in Him.
Several years ago, I had the privilege to read a life-changing book at my Sunset Book Club. Ironically, I really didn't want to read it as I thought it would be cheesy. Even after I read it, I thought it was cheesy. But thanks to the discussion I had at book club about this book, it changed my life forever.
Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of every person who has or will walk this earth. I don't understand the hows of it all, but I do know that He did it. Because of Him, He paid every last ounce of sin and suffering on this earth. I know this is true.
I am a sinner. I have hurt others throughout my life by my poor choices, and I most assuredly will in the future. I stand condemned before the Lord. It is only through the merits and grace of Jesus Christ that I am clean, because of the faith I have in Him.
He forgives me so freely when I repent of my sins.
But doesn't this go both ways?
When I offend others, when I hurt others, I can repent, knowing that because of the atonement, my sins have been paid for already. Yet, people will offend me. People will hurt me. Guess what? Their sins have been paid for as well. When I choose not to forgive, even when they have not asked me for forgiveness, I am denying Jesus Christ. I am calling Him a liar. I am carrying an unnecessary burden of hurt and pain, a burden that should not be mine.
I love this little story by Boyd K. Packer...