Case in point, a woman who we were teaching once couldn't overcome her anger and hate for a man who she supposed murdered her son. So much of her life was wrapped up in imagining what she would say to him if she ever saw him again, so much was invested in thoughts of tormenting him, so much was lost because she couldn't let go of what great wrong she supposed he had done to her.
The man was never formally accused, and though no evidence was ever brought together that may have formed any real case against him, this woman could not let go and find peace. Repeatedly she quoted, "Vengence is mine!", taking comfort in the scripture knowing that god would repay, but she allowed it to overwhelm her to the point where she had trouble getting through the day even though years had passed since her sons tragic death.
The greatest damage came not from her sons death, but from herself as she continually harrowed herself up in misery and ill will towards those whom she accused. I'm afraid to say that its likely that the majority of the pain she felt due to her sons death was self inflicted over time from refusing to let it alone and forgive. In Doctrine and Covenants Section 64:9-10, we are commanded to forgive others freely, not only for their benefit but for ours.
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.It is never easy to forgive.
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
Whether its forgiveness for ourselves or for others, its a difficult search to gain that spiritual healing that we need when we feel we have had something torn from us or have been dealt with unjustly. Christs open arms are ever extended to sooth and comfort those who are in need of comfort if only we will come unto him. 3 Nephi 9:13 reads:
O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
The Master Healer knows each one of us personally and wills that we put our cares and our burdens upon him that we may let go of our sorrow and anguish. Whether great or small the offense, it is for our benefit that we forgive freely to anyone. We may not necessarily trust them again, nor will we give them a second chance every time, but we are asked to do the same thing that Jesus Christ himself has done for us and forgive.
The thought comes to me as I look back and reflect upon this blog post that we write about those things which we need most. I need to do a better job of forgiving... of letting go. I really cannot say I have too much that needs be reconciled, but I still need to just let go. Its just time to let go. Whatever forgiving I need to do, towards myself or towards others, is a work in progress. I'll keep you posted.
Additional Link: James E. Faust, "The Healing Power of Forgiveness"