James Rasband, the Dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, delivered a message during Tuesday’s devotional that focused not only on the forgiveness received through the atonement, but the requirement to forgive others.
Those in the LDS faith are taught that because of the atonement people can receive forgiveness for their sins. Rasband said a commonly overlooked aspect of the atonement is that in order to receive this forgiveness, people must also learn to forgive those who have wronged them.
“That our own forgiveness should be conditioned on forgiving others can be a hard doctrine, particularly if the sin against us was horribly wrong and out of all proportion to any harm we’ve ever committed,” Rasband said. “Our salvation is conditioned on forgiving others because when we refuse to forgive, what we are really saying is that we reject, or don’t quite trust, the atonement. And it is our acceptance of the atonement that ultimately saves us.”
Rasband said it is easy for people today to forget that the atonement has two parts. People tend to focus on the fact that their own debts are being forgiven but forget the other part of the atonement.
“We often don’t quite see how the atonement satisfies our own demands for justice,” Rasband said. “Yet it does so. It heals us not only for the guilt we suffer when we sin, but it also heals us from the sins and hurts of others.”
However, Rasband said it can be hard to give that forgiveness to others.
“It is critical to understand that forgiving others is not just a practical value,” Rasband said. “It is a profound act of faith in the atonement and the promise that the Savior’s sacrifice repays not just our debts to others, but also the debts of others to us. The principle of forgiveness does not require that we give up our right to justice or that we give up our right to restitution. Christ answers the demands of the law for our sins and for the sins of others. We just have to be willing to accept that he has the power to do so.”
Rasband concluded by saying that receiving restitution because of the sins of others is possible through the atonement, but it is important that they also receive forgiveness.
“We can’t have faith in only one side of the atonement,” Rasband said. “To be efficacious, to have saving power, our faith in Christ and his atonement must include both his power to pay for our sins and his power to pay for the sins of others.”