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Forgiveness Sets You Free

By Mormon.org

A Desire to Be Free

Every person shares an innate desire to be free; it’s embedded deep within our physical and spiritual makeup. So when we receive warnings of dangers that threaten that personal freedom, we should pay attention. 

The scriptures repeatedly warn that sin causes bondage. With descriptive imagery, the prophet Nephi in the Book of Mormon describes how the adversary draws us away, one small sin at a time, until we are fully imprisoned in the chains of our iniquity. He counsels, “The founder of murder, and works of darkness … leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever” (2 Nephi 26:22). While the lightweight flaxen cords of a few wrong choices are easily escaped, the strong cords of repeated disobedience to God’s commands seem more binding.

We can also become shackled by what Elder Kevin R. Duncan describes as “the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge” caused by wrongs others have done to us. In this case, we may not have been the one to cause the initial damage, but when we refuse to forgive, we are enslaved by hurt and suffering nonetheless. 

The good news is that no matter the source of the chains, the bondage we feel can easily be broken with the miracle of forgiveness.

Forgiveness Sought

The great promise of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is that when we reach out for Him, the Savior will forgive us for the sins we have committed and welcome us back into His loving arms. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf recently taught: “It matters not how completely ruined our lives may seem. It matters not how scarlet our sins, how deep our bitterness, how lonely, abandoned, or broken our hearts may be. Even those who are without hope, who live in despair, who have betrayed trust, surrendered their integrity, or turned away from God can be rebuilt. Save those rare sons of perdition, there is no life so shattered that it cannot be restored.”

Watch this reminder that each of us can break free from the bondage of sin as we seek forgiveness through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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Forgiveness Granted

When we refuse to forgive others who have harmed, offended, or misused us, we not only suffer because of their actions but we become enslaved by the feelings we harbor. The Lord teaches: “Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:9–10). Sometimes it seems unfair for the Lord to ask us to forgive when we have been wronged, especially if the forgiveness seems unsought or undeserved. But He requires forgiveness not for another’s benefit but for ours. If we want to break free from the pain and heartache caused by a hurtful situation, we must forgive others so we can find peace.

Watch as President James E. Faust testifies of the freedom we can experience through the healing power of forgiveness. See video here.

Whether we are seeking forgiveness for our own trespasses from the Savior and Redeemer of the world or granting that forgiveness to others, we can break the bonds that threaten our freedom through the miracle of forgiveness.