Giving the gift of forgiveness for Christmas

During our ward Christmas party, our bishop suggested a great gift for others — and for yourself — this holiday season: forgiveness.

I really try hard not to hold grudges, so I usually tell myself I don’t need to forgive anybody, but when the bishop said this a few names came to mind. One of my gifts this Christmas will be to try to forgive these people.

Of course forgiving others can also be a gift to yourself. I will never forget a friend of mine who held a grudge against a family member, and I was inspired to say: “do you honestly think you are hurting this person by not forgiving him? You are hurting yourself more than you are hurting him. That guy is in your head. You are allowing that person to have power over you by holding that grudge. Just forgive him and let it go, and you will benefit most of all.”

We can repair family relationships and friendships by forgiving, but we can also heal our own wounds. Of course there is this important scripture: “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” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:9–10).

But it is also true that practicing forgiveness helps us become better and less bitter people. President James E. Faust said the following in 2007:

“If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being. Some recent studies show that people who are taught to forgive become “less angry, more hopeful, less depressed, less anxious and less stressed,” which leads to greater physical well-being. Another of these studies concludes “that forgiveness … is a liberating gift [that] people can give to themselves.”

So, a suggested present for Christmas: think of somebody to forgive and do your best to truly let go of that grudge.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

2 thoughts on “Giving the gift of forgiveness for Christmas

  1. Thank you, Geoff. Having been ostracised by family members and fellow church members, and facing the loss of my job due to the ‘mandate of fear’, I really needed to read this tonight.

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