We are commanded to forgive
We believe forgiveness is a Christlike quality. It includes receiving forgiveness, forgiving ourselves and forgiving others. Forgiving others is by far the most difficult. Our Savior teaches us that if we forgive others, we will be forgiven.
In our daily lives, there are plenty of opportunities to be wronged by others. Some of these may be purely accidental, while others may be intentional. In either event, we can choose to take offense and possibly become vengeful and bitter — or we can follow the Savior’s example and forgive others.
Jesus freely forgave the crucifiers and asked Heavenly Father to forgive them for they know not what they do. Jesus also taught us in the parable of the ungrateful servant, in which the king forgave his servant a massive debt only to have that servant refuse to forgive a minor debt to a fellow servant, whom he had thrown into prison. We become ungrateful servants if we don’t forgive others because of the mercy Jesus has shown to us.
A modern-day prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, taught, “To be in the right, we must forgive, we must do so without regard to whether or not our antagonist repents or how sincere is his transformation or whether or not he asks for forgiveness. Even for repeat offenses we are committed to forgive even until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).
The Savior further teaches in modern-day scripture: “I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.”
— Duane Tippets, Anniston Ward,
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Call others to leave sin behind
We live in an age of shallow biblical teaching. Many of the popular teachers and church movements of our age pride themselves in teaching Scripture in a new way or creative way. While this may build a large crowd, it will never develop strong disciples of Christ.
The church in America needs to grow in the area of understanding our need for Christ, our responsibility to challenge and love our brothers in Christ, and the need to boldly label sin as sin and call each other to repentance/forgiveness.
As a church community, we have tolerated sin for too long under the belief that Jesus doesn’t want us to “judge” one another. Listen to the words of Christ: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
Our goal in life should be to have our sin exposed so that we can repent and remove the sin in our life. After removing the sin in my life through the gospel of Jesus Christ, then I should be trying to help my fellow Christians remove the sin in their lives.
What is often labeled “judgment” is not truly judgment, but is rather one Christian loving the other enough to call them to leave a life of sin.
Should we hold past sins against a person? No; if they are in Christ, we should treat them like the new creation that they have become in Christ. But we should be constantly repenting of sin and calling others to repent of their sin! Christ commands us to live this way.
— Carlton Weathers, Grace Fellowship, Anniston