Forgiveness

There is a book called The Miracle of Forgiveness, written by one of the past leaders of the LDS Church, which gives many good ideas about how to repent and receive forgiveness from God.  For the longest time in my life, I always felt like the miracle of forgiveness was that after a person repents, God forgives them of their sins and remembers them no more.  While I still believe this is a wonderful and miraculous thing, I have recently arrived at the conclusion that the real miracle of forgiveness is when someone else has offended us and we are able to forgive the person fully and frankly.  

I was involved in an automobile accident on Tuesday.  I could easily have blamed the other driver for coming down the hill too quickly, or for not stopping in time and ramming my car.  I could also point the finger of blame at her for driving off after the accident, rather than waiting for the police to arrive and assess the situation.  I do not see the point in the former, since it was most likely my fault for causing the accident---I should have been more careful before pulling out of the parking lot to turn left, particularly because there were cars parked on the side of the road.  To the latter, I merely say that people are allowed to make mistakes and that I see no point in taking advantage of a person for doing it.

I was very relieved that no one was hurt in the accident.  The other car slowed down enough that the only damage to my car was that the driver-side doors were smashed in and now are unable to open.  There was no damage to my person, and as far as I could discern, none of the three passengers (including the driver) in the other car were injured either.  Since the damage to the vehicles was minimal, and there were no injuries, I praise the name of my God and give Him thanks for a mighty miracle.

Perhaps you may be thinking that it's easy for me to forgive another person when I'm really the one at fault anyway, and I'd have to agree with you.  If the roles were reversed, and a car pulled out in front of me while I was driving swiftly downhill, I might find it a bit harder to forgive the other driver.  But I have also found that in nearly every unpleasant interaction that two parties have with each other, either party has a partial blame and either party has the opportunity to become angry or ill-willed toward the other party.  I have also found that as often as I do so, my spirit becomes darkened and I distance myself from my Father in Heaven.  And as often as I choose to give the other person the benefit of the doubt, the happier I am and the more able I am to feel the love of my God, for me and for the other person who may have wronged me.

There have been a few times in my life where I truly felt that I had been taken advantage of, or that I was rather angered at another individual for a real or perceived wrong they had done me.  It has been very difficult for me to forgive these persons.  In fact, I cannot say with full confidence that I have truly forgiven them.  However, I wish to be able to.  I want to arrive at the beautiful day when I truly and sincerely harbor no ill will in my heart toward any of my dear brothers and sisters here on this Earth.  If I were able to look on a person's heart and see what God there sees, then I would be truly happy.  

And so, it is with all of my heart that I pray for the well-being of the three people in the other car that hit me the other day.  I pray that my mistake did not impact them for the worse in any great way.  I pray that any damage it did cause to them will be relatively easy and painless to resolve.  I pray that in the future I will be more careful while driving, to avoid any future wrecks.  Up until that fated day, I prided myself in having driven for so long without being in a single accident.  Of that I can no longer boast, but I do hope that I will be able to maintain a clean record from this day forth.