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Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Seventy speaks April 2 during the Saturday morning session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"(There) is not a soul alive who will not, at one time or another, be the victim to someone else's careless actions, hurtful conduct, or even sinful behavior," Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Seventy said during the Saturday morning session of general conference. However, God "has provided an escape for all who fall victim to the misdeeds of others. He has taught us that we can forgive."

An unforgiving heart harbors needless pain, Elder Duncan taught, much like an untreated sliver under the skin.

He said that many years ago, while mending a fence, a small sliver of wood entered into his finger. He attempted to get the sliver out but, apparently, did not get it all. Over time, skin grew over the sliver and created an annoying and sometimes painful lump. "Years later I decided to finally take action. All I did was simply apply ointment to the lump and cover it with a bandage." He did this repeatedly until one day, when he removed the bandage, the sliver emerged from his finger.

"When we apply the healing ointment of the Savior's Atonement, He will soften our heart and help us to change," Elder Duncan said.

Forgiving others can be difficult, even if people want to do so. "As victims, if we are faithful, we can take great comfort in knowing that God will compensate us for every injustice we experience," Elder Duncan said.

Seeing others as God sees them can help one forgive others. Elder Duncan said, "At times, God may part the curtain and bless us with the gift to see into the heart, soul, and spirit of another person who has offended us. This insight may even lead to an overwhelming love for that person."

Just as everyone falls victim to the misdeeds of others, they are also sometimes the offender, Elder Duncan said. "We all fall short and have need of grace, mercy, and forgiveness. We must remember that forgiveness of our own sins and offenses is conditioned upon our forgiving others."

In closing, Elder Duncan said, "Forgiveness is the very reason God sent His Son, so let us rejoice in His offering to heal us all. The Savior's Atonement is not just for those who need to repent; it is also for those who need to forgive."

vjohnson@deseretnews.com

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