Forgiveness is an important part of a full and healthy life

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  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    April 3, 2013 5:13 p.m.

    Part Two:

    Alma 42:24 states that without justice "God would cease to be God". His mercy is for the merciful and the repentant. The whole chapter is worth reading.

    Forgiving needs to be accompanied by instruction where needed, punishment where needed, and voluntary restitution accompanies sincere repentance. Parents need to instruct children in right and wrong frequently and effectively. Society needs to do the same for its own protection because not everyone repents and also to demonstrate, and warn others against, anti-social behavior. Justice is a virtue in itself as is mercy and forgiveness.

    To forgive is in itself to acknowledge that wrong has been done and wrongs ought to be righted by the wrongdoer to the full extent possible. That is enforceable in necessary laws and fervently hoped and prayed for in domestic and social situations.

    Deterrence and self protection must occur if a society is to survive, and households divided against themselves cannot stand and more than nations.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    April 3, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    We always hit problems talking about forgiveness in the terms of what some professor or would-be philosopher says, especially when it is followed up by commendations from others in terms of cherry picking scriptures to justify the philosophies of men and women.

    It is a spiritual thing no matter how much we try to make it a health issue.

    Men are much stronger on justice in my experience and women on what they consider mercy. There must be a reason why Justice is masculine in the Book of Mormon and Mercy is feminine: Justice exercizeth all his demands, and also mercy claimeth all that is her own (Alma 42:24).

    Justice for one person might be revenge and mercy could be passivity or enabling. Forgiveness is not the same as being a pushover and justice is not retaliation. I don't think people understand either, but we see it in a feminizing way that justice is somehow wrong and mercy right.

    Christ referred to both justice and mercy as "the weightier matters of the law" and scipture tells us that mercy might "overpower" justice where there is genuine repentance and atonement but mercy cannot rob justice.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    April 3, 2013 4:13 p.m.

    What about forgiving somebody but then having trouble forgiving yourself for putting up with how that person treated you? That one is much more difficult for me.

  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    April 3, 2013 10:43 a.m.


    The story about the couple obviously doesn't go into all details of what happened which does give the impression the church was heavy handed and rash. However, it was certainly more serious than just looking at porn. Excommunication is only considered in the most serious of sins in the LDS church (murder, adultery, etc...). Excommunicated members can be considered again a year later. The fact that it took 5 years suggests this individual wasn't ready after just one year. Membership in the LDS church requires a committment to Jesus Christ and to follow his example. Church discipline is a necessary step to intervene to help the individual start taking the appopriate steps to get their life in order. However, it is also necessary to avoid hypocrisy and to protect the innocent. I am certain this couple received lots of counseling from their church leaders, addiction recoverly programs and professional counseling as desired. This all happened privately and confidentially. Let's be clear, it was THEIR choice to be part of this story.

    Lastly, your comment and insinuation that the wife's weight problem was a cause of his porn addiction and other related problems is ignorant and offensive.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    April 3, 2013 6:29 a.m.

    Ann Amberly, thank you for your comment.

    So true.

  • windsor City, Ut
    April 3, 2013 6:18 a.m.

    "Forgiving wrongs is part decision, part emotion, said Everett L. Worthington Jr., a noted expert on the topic of forgiveness"

    In some cases, there is another element. In some situations, you can not muster up enough 'decision' and 'emotion' on your own to be able to forgive.

    I agree with the comments above from EternalPerspective.

    Some forgiveness is a Divine gift given to the one who is trying to forgive-- to be able to do so.

    It can be given in an instant or may take many years to be given, depending on what is best for your life and learning.

    I have had both, and know I could not have given forgiveness in either case on my own.

  • Ann Amberly Greenbelt, MD
    April 2, 2013 9:06 p.m.

    We sling around the term "forgiveness," but it deserves to be defined first. Forgiveness is not about you and the offender; that's called reconciliation. Forgiveness is between you (the victim) and God. It is about renouncing revenge and hatred and letting God take care of the matter under His law, and letting the civil authorities take care of the matter under the government's law. It is not about having a great relationship with the offender, especially if they are not repentant. Indeed, you may not be able to have a relationship with the offender at all, in order to remain safe from their predations.

    Forgiving is giving it over to the Lord and the civil authorities, and letting go of hatred and bitterness knowing that God can make it all right, in this life or the next.

    Now, if the offender does sincerely repent and make reparations, it's possible that a reconciliation is possible. But we must not confuse forgiveness and reconciliation--for example, domestic abusers often tell their victims that the scriptures say he who does not forgive is guilty of the greater sin, and that means the victim has to reconcile with the abuser. Wrong.

  • tgurd Gonzales, LA
    April 2, 2013 4:05 p.m.

    A comment for johnanngoethe. John 1st if you understood the doctrine of the church you would know about the reasons for repentance taking the time, depending on the law broken why it takes so long and that as said excommunication when understood is a consequence that truly shows love and care by the Savior. To many people say how hard this is and how hard that is they would let crimes go without consequences and we see what that has done in society today, I can remember when the death penalty was used for murder and how few were committed, now we give them cable tv porn allow just about a better living (not counting the limited space ) then many people have. I you read in the old testament the law of Moses and the laws that were set in place, you can understand how many of those people never had to worry about stealing lying, being disobedient to parents and many other things. Last of all marriage is ordained of God and its not a light thing to cheat on ones spouse, weight or other health issues are never an excuse to cheat.

  • tgurd Gonzales, LA
    April 2, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    I agree that to have a happy and healthy life you need to have joy in yourself,family and all that you do. Iam a very happy person and have been even before I joined the LDS church and then I found even greater joy, with all of the stressful things in the world today,exp rumors of war corruption, people afraid to say or do, I can understand how many are in dire straits. I find that being strait with people and admitting when wrong is done as well as taking responsibility for mistakes you do keep your stress level down. I believe that the evils of drinking, smoking, porn, cheating on spouse are other causes of poor health. I am 66 yrs old have the cholesterol triglisirides of many in their 20s I do have type 2 diabetes, which I try to watch and control. I would say to each be honest, never say things to people you don't want repeated,smile have daily scripture and prayer and most of all thank the Lord for all of the blessings and ask his help to get you through each day. To all nay sayers IT WORKS

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    April 2, 2013 3:02 p.m.

    @ johanngethe:
    Quoting directly from the story: "She stood by him as he was stripped of church callings and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he rebuilt a shattered reputation."

    He didn't lose his reputation like he loses a wallet, he shattered it. He shattered it by his choice of indulging in porn. The LDS church did not destroy his reputation, nor did his wife. He, himself, did that. But, he also chose to get on a course correction, and work towards rebuilding his marriage with his wife. She chose to stay and work it through.

    I would challenge you to look at the 12 Step program of Addiction Recovery. The first step is to be honest - completely and utterly honest. A person is responsible for his own actions, and not for anyone else's. They have to get honest with the person who has made those choices, and that is themselves.

  • johanngoethe SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 2, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    Eternal: I'm confused. Excommunication means removal from the church. Whether temporary or permanent is probably not relevant to the definition of the word. Protecting a member spiritually while essentially shaming / punishing (excommunication, stripping of participation) him (similar to the Mennonite religion against wayward members)seems like an oxymoron. (The author did say it took five years to regain some of his lost reputation.) My point was why not solve this privately as a marital problem,with a first-class, experienced marriage counselor, get the addiction under control and repent to the point where his wife could forgive him? Perhaps his wife should pursue a parallel program of weight loss and methods of meeting a husband's sexual needs? Why go through all this organized damage of his reputation? This community involvement? He might as well be standing on a corner with a sign for passersby to see: I WATCH PORNO AND HAVE BEEN KICKED OUT OF MY CHURCH BUT I'M REPENTING. SEE MY STORY ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPER! I don't understand this. Seems wrong.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    April 2, 2013 4:53 a.m.


    Excommunication in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not done with the intent of removing someone permanently from membership. Rather, it protects them spiritually and is an invitation to repent of serious sins and prepare for reinstatement at a future date. This action is also not publicized as you perceived.

    We also do not know the circumstances of this man and all else he might have done as a result of indulging pornography, which led to the results his wife mentioned. Pornography in itself is not necessary an offense worthy of excommunication and depends on the degree of remorse and humility expressed by the offender, among many other considerations.

    Finally, the Church will protect other members from those whose sins could negatively impact, while also showing compassion and love for them regardless of sins. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of love and forgiveness, but never an excuse to justify or cover up sins.

    Everyone who commits the more serious sins against God's immutable laws will suffer consequences, but not in vain, as God wishes for all to repent. God will be merciful unto those who do so in earnest humility.

  • darkrats Canada, 00
    April 2, 2013 1:51 a.m.

    Hi "BYU Joe". Not to get into a conversation about doctrine (this is probably not the forum for this) but if "The actions of the so called "unrepentant" are not what matter", then all those passages of Scripture which speak of repentance have to be called into question. Turning the cheek is not about forgiveness. It is about how we are to respond in the face of continued persecution. Repentance does matter in the case of forgiveness. The idea that it does not, is exactly what drives much of the evil in the world. I hope the moderator will let this comment stand as my final word about this. I do appreciate the comments directed toward myself and "Laggi".

  • johanngoethe SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 1, 2013 12:54 p.m.

    "...she marched him to their church for counseling and confession...She stood by him as he was stripped of church callings and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he rebuilt a shattered reputation. It would take five years to earn much of it back." Sounds to me as though the couple's church is pretty dogmatic and fundamentally strict to excommunicate a member for dealing with what is essentially a private problem of marital loyalty, even if it could be characterized as an addiction similar to drug abuse and food addictions (leading to obesity), both of which contribute enormously to marital problems as well. While agreeing with all the premises of the article about pornography being pernicious and disloyal in a marriage and the importance of forgiveness (very classical Christian and spot on), me thinks this problem could have been more discretely solved by going to a good marriage counselor rather than "marching him to their church" and witnessing a publicly disclosed excommunication and the resulting "shattered reputation" (now even on the front page of a newspaper). A well-trained private marriage counselor could have handled this problem without all the public theater.

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    April 1, 2013 12:15 p.m.

    Homo sapiens are the best predators on the planet. When someone desires to repent, to do what they can to make up for the injury, forgiveness is teriffic. Whowever, when forgiveness makes a predator see the interaction as a win, that enables further predation. Then you have done the next victim no favors.

  • bullet56 Olympia, WA
    April 1, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    I wish this message were as loud as the other messages we get in our daily lives. Forgiveness is what sets the followers of Jesus Christ apart from others. Forgiveness, not revenge is an amazing thing to give,or receive. It is fertilizer for the soul and creates an environment of new beginnings where love can bloom. Love of our selves, and love of others. The six most important words I know are; "I love you" & "I forgive you" Peace to all.

    April 1, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    Laggi and Darkrats:

    The idea forgiveness is not complete until the person that did wrong repents and asks for it, is a mistake. Yes it's nice to hear they are sorry and to have some type of payment to fill the gap. But here is the problem. Not everyone handles a problem the same way. What may be repentance for one person might not be the same for another. Perhaps they hold it in and are not capable to express their sorrow. They may be entirely repentant inside but do not have the ability to meet your expectation.

    Then who are we to judge who is repentant and not.

    In those cases where they continue the wrong, then our ability to forgive becomes even more important. We turn the other cheek. Why? Not so they can hit us again but so that we can gain the peace that comes with letting go of our anger.

    The actions of the so called "unrepentant" are not what matter. What matters is our ability to control our lives, emotions and happiness.

    Peace comes not by what they do, but by what we do. Besides, who amongst really is without sin?

    No one.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    April 1, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    Forgiveness is a tough lesson to learn. Especially when I'm trying to forgive myself.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    April 1, 2013 5:46 a.m.

    This is a wonderful article on the power of the human soul to desire forgiveness, no matter how challenging it might be to do so. However, I believe it's equally important to recognize the inherent human limitations to completely forgive, whether it be others and perhaps most especially the self.

    Forgiveness as expressed by humanity is a desire that when acted upon to the best of one's ability can set in motion events to enable the fulfillment of such hope. But, without the Atonement of Jesus Christ to provide the healing and enabling power of God to take away the heavy burdens that we ourselves cannot remove, then forgiveness can never be complete.

    For after all we can do, only the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ can truly set us free from even the greatest pain imaginable we might carry. As the Savior said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

  • darkrats Canada, 00
    April 1, 2013 5:37 a.m.

    I'm glad that "1aggie" brought up the point about unrepentant people who have wronged you. I think it's a misconception that you can forgive people when they show no signs of feeling sorry for what they have done. If you are open to forgiveness, then you've done your part. Sometimes you may have to wait a lifetime for them to do their's, but the act of forgiveness is not complete until that happens. The important thing is to remain ready to forgive when the time is right.

  • Albert Maslar CPA (Retired) Absecon, NJ
    April 1, 2013 5:31 a.m.

    Forgiveness is an essential element of life and the bible answers the question of how many times to forgive, saying seventy time seven, meaning endless. The problem is with grown children into their forties and fifties, addicted to alcohol from teenage years, and having done the twelve steps endless times, and constantly forgiven by parents and siblings; at what point, if any, does tough love come into play and the umbilical safety cord be cut, and does that negate forgiveness or not? Where is the dividing line between forgiving and enabling?

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 31, 2013 8:16 p.m.

    In almost all of the stories recounted here, the person who did wrong asked for forgiveness. However in my life, people who have wronged me have never asked for forgiveness. I believe it is much harder to forgive someone if they are unrepentant than if they are sorry for what they did.

  • UTAH Bill Salt Lake City, UT
    March 30, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    From my experience with family matters, I'm one of those who now believes forgiveness is much more important for the forgiver than for the forgiven. It unburdens and takes away life-draining negativity.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    March 30, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    Where do we go from hear. That's what my dad would say when I was picked up by the cops for drinking under age. I had no idea. I'd be grounded couldn't see my friends. I couldn't see what was
    so bad about drinking. But by then I could see that my desire for drinking was becoming a real erg. I knew how it could become a problem if I didn't put a limit to it. But that was me, my friends, some became alky's and druggies. Where did I go from there? I guess I wised up a little.