Forgiveness: the only option

To be effective, forgiveness must be total and come from the heart. The Lord lifted from all the burden of choosing whom to forgive when He proclaimed a universal law: "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men. And ye ought to say in your heart — let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds" (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10-11).

In 2007, Chris Williams, a bishop in a Salt Lake City ward, and his family were involved in a car crash that took the lives of his pregnant wife and two of their children. Before the dust settled from the wreck, Bishop Williams knew that the first thing he had to do was forgive the driver who had crashed his vehicle into the Williams family's sedan.

"As a disciple of Christ, I had no other choice," he said as he referred to the Lord's admonition to "forgive all men."

Bishop Williams said, "As I understand that statement, it is not an option whether or not I forgive somebody. It is a commandment" ("Forgiveness is the only option," Church News, Feb. 2, 2007).

In 1914, Elder Orson F. Whitney, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, wrote: "We are required to forgive all men, for our own sakes, since hatred retards spiritual growth" (Orson F. Whitney, Gospel Themes," p. 144).

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