To My Children
Rachel, Kathryn, Arthur, Nathan, Elizabeth
To Their Children
And To Their Children’s Children
A Forgiving Heart
I had been assigned to visit and help a sister in the church that had a myriad of problems. She was in a government protection program, and was using an assumed named because she had been severely beaten by her husband. It was a miracle that she lived.
He was in prison but was getting out soon. There was every reason to believe that he would seek her out to kill her.
She had two daughters living with her. One was twelve years old and the other was about seven years old.
She couldn’t hold a job because her brain had been severely traumatized during the beating and she would have lapses of memory. She had no money and was living in a dilapidated house for free. She tried to fix it up the best she could but didn’t have the resources.
Her twelve years old daughter had witnessed the beating and was suffering emotional problems because of it.
She had had three to four other husbands and/or live-in boyfriends previous to the last one.
She had other children by some of them.
She had been married in the temple to her first husband and had been active at church.
She left him and her two oldest daughters for another man.
Her first husband and the two daughters were still active in the church. These daughters were now older teenagers and refused to have anything to do with their mom. This caused her great sadness and grief.
Since her first marriage her life had not been pretty. Alcohol, tobacco, and men had all been a big part of it.
When I met her she wanted to become active in the church again and get her life in order, however it was very difficult.
She smoked quite heavily and that made her feel guilty.
She couldn’t hold a job and that made her feel guilty.
Her relationship with her older children made her feel guilty.
Her past sins made her feel guilty.
She had an old car but couldn’t afford to keep it running or buy much gas. This also made her feel guilty.
She suffered from depression and that made her feel guilty.
I wasn’t sure how to help her, but I did believe that her desire was sincere in wanting to turn her life around. I admired her because she was trying very hard to be self-sufficient.
One day she learned that her husband who had beaten her, had found out where she was. He was getting out of prison within a couple of weeks, so she would have to move again. That depressed and frightened her.
I received a call from her at work. She asked me if I could come and give her a blessing that afternoon.
As I drove to her house I began to contemplate all the things that she could use a blessing for.
Protection from her husband.
Reconciliation with some of her children.
Help with quitting smoking
Nicer living facilities.
A car that would run.
The strength to become active in the church and get back to attending the temple.
All of these things entered my mind as I asked the Lords help to prepare me to give her a blessing that would be meaningful.
At her home, like I usually do, I asked this sister to tell me what she specifically wanted in the blessing.
The question surprised her a little bit. Yet, after just a brief moment she said,
“What I want is to be blessed with a forgiving heart.”
I was stunned and asked her incredulously if that was all.
She replied that it was.
The spirit immediately filled the room in a way that I have rarely felt before and I could tell that the Lord was pleased. It was one of those blessings that did not come from me in any manner.
The Lord literally dictated what I should say. Among other things he told this sister that;
“He was so pleased that this was all that she asked of him, in the midst of all her troubles, that He would not only grant unto her a forgiving heart, but that He also would bless her with, health, income, protection and everything else she stood in need of.”
The Lord went on to say, “That a forgiving heart is the greatest thing that she or anyone could ask for. And He would that everyone would do so.”
There were a few more things said to her, but this is the most important part.
This is a true principle. When it is examined in its entirety, having a forgiving heart, in the midst of all our trials, is the only way to take advantage of the Atonement in its fullness.
It is the only thing of importance.
The scriptures clearly inform us that we must forgive all others or the Lord will not forgive us. And if He does not forgive us then the Atonement will have no place in us.
Everything that we accomplish, whether in the church, in our family, in our job, or the community, will not matter unless we also develop a forgiving heart.
However, if we truly develop a forgiving heart then our shortcomings will be swallowed up in the Atonement and all will be well with us.
This sister was forced to move shortly after that blessing. No one was informed as to exactly where. After a while though she came back into the area to retrieve something she had left behind. I didn’t see her but a friend of mine did. I learned that she now has a job, her health is improving, and she is attending church.
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