Elder Kevin R. Duncan of the Seventy admonished Latter-day Saints to forgive others for the wrongs that are committed against them.
“There is not a soul alive who will not, at one time or another, be the victim to someone else’s careless actions, hurtful conduct, or even sinful behavior,” Elder Duncan said at the 186th Annual General Conference.
He taught that everyone will be harmed in life, but God has prepared a way for his children to navigate these difficult experiences through forgiveness.
“He has taught us that we can forgive. Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge,” he said.
Elder Duncan shared an experience of having a wooden sliver in his finger over the span of many years. He explained that skin had grown over the sliver and caused him pain. He decided to put ointment and a bandage over the infected area. Over time, the skin softened enough that the sliver was able to escape his finger. He compared the experience of a sore finger to the Atonement.
“When we apply the healing ointment of the Savior’s Atonement, He will soften our heart and help us change. He can heal the wounded soul,” Elder Duncan said.
He encouraged saints to remember that if they are faithful, the Lord will compensate them for each injustice they experience in life.
He also taught members that in order to forgive, they have to see others the way that God sees them.
“At times, God may part the curtain and bless us with the gift to see into the heart, soul, and spirit of another person who has offended us. The insight may even lead to an overwhelming love for that person.”
Elder Duncan also explained that forgiving behavior is not condoning behavior.
“We do not rationalize bad behavior or allow someone to mistreat us because of their struggles, pains or weakness,” Elder Duncan said, “but we can get greater understanding and peace when we see with a broader prospective.”
Elder Duncan encouraged saints to not develop resentment for those who think differently from them.
“Let us all remember that God looketh not upon the color of the jersey or the political party,” he said. “Brothers and sisters, in the competitions of life, if we win, let us win with grace. If we lose let us lose with grace. For if we live with grace toward one another, grace shall be our reward at the last day.”
Elder Duncan taught that forgiveness is the very reason God sent his Son to earth.
“The Savior’s Atonement is not just for those who need to repent; it is also for those who need to forgive.”