The bell is going to ring in one minute and you are rushing down the hall to get to class when someone runs right into you. At first you may be angry, but after a quick “sorry” all is well and forgotten. It’s easy to forgive that person considering they might not have caused you much pain. Now think about this, your best friend decides to spread a rumor about you, causing people to call you bad names. You are hurt, angry and have a hard time understanding the situation. A quick “sorry” most likely won’t earn your forgiveness. Now, what if you were the one spreading a rumor about someone else? Then you have to live with not only other people not liking you, but you not liking yourself. The emotions and feelings build up each time you choose not to let the past go.
When you hold grudges against yourself or others you are only being weighed down. I like to think that we all carry a sack. This sack gathers boulders over time. In the beginning, when someone bumps into you, your bag is weighed down by anger for a moment and then it’s gone. When your friend spreads a rumor about you, you could add a variety of boulders… anger, hurt, betrayal and even revenge in some cases. This is making your sack heavy and beginning to weigh you down. When you pray to God and forgive that person right away the sack is empty once again and you can continue moving forward. But, when you aren’t so quick to forgive, the boulders keep piling on. If you are constantly holding on to the past, more and more boulders will pile on. Soon the sack becomes too heavy, you stop progressing, the Spirit leaves and you can’t go anywhere. You end up stuck in the same place holding on to the same negative feelings. That is why it is important to forgive others and yourself. The sooner you do it, the easier the process and the lighter you feel.
President James E. Faust said, “Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of the 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.” President Faust teaches us a valuable concept. Often times we don’t forgive others because they haven’t said sorry to us. We don’t feel it is necessary to forgive if they aren’t willing to apologize. I can testify that is only going to bring more hurt and pain, adding boulders to your pile, making your load heavier.Forgiving and forgetting has always been hard for me. I struggle moving on and letting things go. My sack often times gets too heavy to even move. My progression stops and I become angry.
One day, in seminary, we had a silent lesson. No one spoke as we read and learned about the Savior’s crucifixion. It was an eye-opening lesson for me, especially near the end. I remember tears filling my eyes as I read the few words Jesus Christ said before He died, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That hit me hard. I still remember to this day the overwhelming feeling I had. I realized something I hadn’t before…sometimes people don’t know when their choices hurt us. Their actions can, unintentionally, cause us pain. When we are being weighed down by others the best thing to do is forgive. Let it all go.
Nothing good ever comes from carrying around boulders. It just gives you a headache and a heartache. It drives the Spirit away and it diminishes your testimony and spirituality. It holds you back from the wonderful things in life. We need to let things go. Holding grudges doesn’t bring happiness. It breaks friendships and destroys relationships. It’s easier to forgive and forget then to carry that heavy sack everywhere.
I promise, if you pray to your Heavenly Father to help you forgive the person who wronged you and to forgive yourself, you will be spiritually healed. God will cleanse you and bring your soul peace. He will help you remove those boulders from your sack and you can continue moving forward once again. Mosiah 4:10 reads, “And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.” With a willing heart and an open mind, we can forgive and receive forgiveness. We can move forward and progress, and leave our boulders behind.