Tuesday, August 24, 2010


This past spring I offered forgiveness to a woman who had been, at one time, a close friend. She neither requested nor acknowledged my forgiveness, but it didn't matter. My gesture was, in a sense, selfish, born out of a desire to rid myself of the burden of bad feeling. I hardly understood my feelings about my erstwhile friend as they simmered under the surface for months, clouded as they were by a mist of deceit and hinted complexities.

Were it not for my 4-year old daughter and her increasing references to this woman who had once worked her way so deeply into our lives, I could have buried my frustration. But 4-year olds, particularly when prompted by forces beyond adult comprehension, exhibit a remarkable tenacity. With every reference to Jane's house, Jane's pigs, the day we went swimming with Jane, the sliver worked deeper underneath my fingernail.

I craved emotional freedom, and as I pondered, I realized my only path to that freedom was to forgive. I pleaded with God for the power to do just that. Although I knew I needed to forgive Jane, I could scarcely articulate, even to myself, what I needed to forgive her for. Slowly and surely, however, the forgiveness flowed through me. I remember the day I sat down and wrote a message to Jane, asking forgiveness for those things I knew angered her and offering my forgiveness in return. I clicked Send and settled back in my chair, knowing I would receive no answer but already feeling the lightness. Oddly, my daughter has not mentioned Jane to me since then.

In the past weeks, I learned more about Jane and the actions she took after our friendship. Finally, I saw with clarity exactly what I needed to forgive, offenses I had not suspected before. The clarity should have overwhelmed me, should have chipped my armor. Instead, I felt a remarkable calm, an unexpected and beautiful peace. God, in His infinite grace, granted me the power to forgive in advance of my knowledge, so that when I most needed peace, His peace enveloped me.


  1. That is very powerful for me to read.
    I have my own Jane.
    My children as well remind me of her.

    I am not sure either, why I need to forgive her, I have been deeply hurt by her dishonesty, but mainly I just mourn the loss of what I felt was a friend.

    A novel I recently read gave me a new perspective to consider as has your post.

  2. Forgiveness is a powerful thing. I'm curious as to what the novel was that you reference. Anything you'd recommend?

  3. I've written and thought an awful lot about forgiveness in the past few years, so I especially enjoyed this post. It's been a major theme in my head and heart...but not because of any exceptional facility with it. Rather the opposite, I'm afraid.

    This morning as I read scriptures with my kids before school, we came to the verse in 1 Nephi 7, where he says "I did frankly forgive them"...which I've read countless times in my life, but which struck me in a new way, and I am now left pondering that great prophet's ability to forgive and accept the people in his family who were problematic.

    They were, after all, trying to kill him! They constantly pitted themselves and others against him, making life more difficult than it had to be. I imagine they drove him crazy with frustration. Yet he didn't just say "I forgive you and hope you have a happy life but life's too short to bother with you. I'm taking my family moving on.", which has been the approach I've adopted these past 4 years.

    One often hears of remarkable acts of forgiveness, and they are wondrous and beautiful to behold. But it's always "I went to the prison and forgave them", or, "Years after they died I forgave them and then did their temple work".

    Till today, I hadn't noticed any major acts of forgiveness with people who you have to associate with on a daily basis...who you have to keep in your life just because they're your family.

    I don't know where my thoughts about this will go, but noticing this aspect of Nephi's ability to forgive, and then reading your post on the subject has certainly given me a new avenue for thought, and I'm sure I'll be writing more on it in the future. I thank you for reinforcing the theme in my mind today. ♥

  4. Blue, I have always loved the scripture from Nephi that you mention. It's a wonderful concept, and I do think the ability to "frankly forgive" is one of those spiritual gifts. Some people have it all the time. Others, like me, need to plead for that gift in specific instances.

  5. I am tearing up. My sister-in-law often speaks of the "tender mercies" of the Lord. Often I find myself frustrated trying to understand the current situation I find myself in, only to find later that Heavenly Father was preparing me for the future. & yes, those little ones sure do know how to follow the Spirit!