Talk given by Rebecca Blake in the Pleasant View Ward Church Sacrament Meeting in Huntington Beach, CA. 2/12/23
Growing up in my family I have heard the terms forgiveness (and Repentance) through various stories. One of them is the story of my grandpa.
In my Dad’s family growing up, they had very little money, and his dad, my grandpa loaned his friend, 10,000 dollars having almost no money or little to no money himself. And this family that my grandpa had loaned the 10,000 dollars to would leave on these luxurious vacations and go all over the world and do all kinds of fun, fancy and expensive stuff. But never once did he give my grandpa the 10,000 dollars back, or attempt to pay even a penny of it back.
Later on, even though it wasn’t the wisest thing to do, my grandpa and that friend, both being dentists, became business partners. And owned a dentistry practice together. And one day my grandpa got a call-up to be in the Persian Gulf war back in the 90s, and for some context, he was in the army reserve and was called back up for active duty. And while he was there on active duty, this friend took all of my grandpa’s dental equipment from his office, sold it, and kept all the money. Basically stealing all the equipment from him. And although it was a very dishonest thing of him to do he never apologized or paid him anything back.
Well, a few years later, this same friend got sick, he got cancer and was dying at a relatively young age in his 70s. Still never paying any of the now 20,000-30,000 dollars back. And this was hard for my grandpa because he had been honest and good his whole life and this friend never paid the debt back and at this time in his life he didn't have the capability to do so. And so a few days, maybe a week or two before his friend died of cancer. My grandpa visited him and sat down by his bed and said “Hey, how are you doing” kindly to him he then continued saying, “I know you've owed me this money throughout my lifetime. But I want you to know that the debt is completely forgiven, you owe me nothing. I want you to be at peace. I can't vouch for other people but when it comes to me, your debt is forgiven and I forgive you for this and everything associated with it. I want you to know I love you, you've been a friend, and I've never felt this is something that should come in between our friendship”
This made me reflect on what the savior has done for us. He paid for our debt by overcoming our sins and death that we will never be able to repay. This is why it is so important that we forgive everyone as it says in Doctrine and Covenants section 64:10 when it reads: I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you, it is required to forgive all men.
We get the chance to choose to repent and forgive each day. Repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand with each other. While repentance is something we can do personally to help us improve, forgiveness is something we do outwardly to make amends and to be able to move on even though it can be hard sometimes.
In closing, I would like to share my testimony that as we learn to forgive and repent, through Christ, any heavy burdens we may carry can be lifted and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.