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What Does the Book of Mormon Teach Us about Forgiveness?

By Mormon.org

The Book of Mormon is an additional book of scripture and a second testament of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is also another testament of the power of forgiveness. Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of all humankind. Through following Christ, you can be forgiven of your sins—a process called repentance—and in return God expects you to extend mercy to other people in your life. The Book of Mormon helps explain these principles.

Forgiveness from God

When you purposefully do something contrary to the will of God, it’s called sin. Sin can become a heavy weight on your soul. But when you receive forgiveness from God, you can feel free again. This freedom from guilt can lead to lasting peace in your life. 

Forgiveness comes through Christ

Jesus suffered and died for each of us. He paid the price for our sins, allowing us to be clean when we repent and ask for forgiveness. After learning more about Jesus Christ and His role in their salvation, a group of people in the Book of Mormon recognized the need for forgiveness from their sins. “O have mercy,” they pleaded, “that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified” (Mosiah 4:2). 

Forgiveness is universally offered

Jacob, a Book of Mormon prophet, taught that Christ’s gift of forgiveness of sins applies to everyone who asks for it: “And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam” (2 Nephi 9:21). 

There’s no limit to the number of times you can be forgiven

Describing followers of Jesus Christ in his day, the prophet Moroni said, “But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven” (Moroni 6:8). God understands that you will sin, and as long as you keep coming back to Him to repent, you will be forgiven. 

Forgiving Others

Just as God forgives you when you sin, you also can forgive those who harm or offend you. Everyone has cause at some point to forgive someone else. The question is, do you let your hard feelings eat you up inside, or do you let them go, trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to heal you and ultimately make things right?

God forgives, and so should we

In the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ made it clear that if someone’s contrition is good enough for God, it should be good enough for us as well. He said, “Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also” (Mosiah 26:29). Jesus also taught, “What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am” (3 Nephi 27:27). Jesus and His Father are willing to forgive your mistakes. Therefore, if you are to be like they are, you should learn to forgive others as well. 

Jesus commanded us to forgive

Happiness can be found through obedience to the teachings of Christ—and one of those teachings is forgiveness. You may be familiar with some of Jesus’s biblical teachings on the subject. He told His disciples to forgive “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). In the Lord’s Prayer, repeated in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, he taught, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (3 Nephi 13:11). 

Examples of Forgiveness in the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is full of examples of forgiveness—both those who obtained forgiveness from God and those who forgave their fellow men and women. Here are just a couple of them.

Enos

Have you ever felt weighed down by your mistakes and just wanted to clear your conscience? If so, then you can probably relate to the story of Enos. The Book of Mormon doesn’t tell us what Enos’s sins were, only that he was concerned about the welfare of his soul. While hunting in the forest, he knelt to pray. “And my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication for mine own soul” (Enos 1:4). After praying all day long and into the night, Enos heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed” (Enos 1:5). Enos then asked how this was done, to which the Lord replied, “Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou has never before heard nor seen” (Enos 1:8). 

Nephi

Nephi was one of the heroes of the Book of Mormon. Throughout his life, he was opposed and persecuted by his rebellious brothers. At one point, his brothers were so angry with him that they tried to kill him. Nephi wrote, “And it came to pass that I did frankly forgive them all that they had done, and I did exhort them that they would pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness” (1 Nephi 7:21).

Both kinds of forgiveness—being forgiven by God and forgiving other people—are taught in the Book of Mormon. As you read the accounts of men and women in this book, you can gain insights that will help you find peace and forgiveness in your own life.

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