Saturday, August 7, 2010

YouTube Mormon Messages: Chris Williams Discusses The Miracle Of Forgiveness In "Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light"

Mormon Messages features an excellent video posted on July 28th, 2010 which brings the miracle of forgiveness to life in a persuasive fashion. Chris Williams discusses his feelings and experiences after a teenage drunk driver crashed into his car in February 2007 killing his wife, the unborn child she was carrying, and two of their other children. Another child survived, and yet another was elsewhere at the time. Chris himself was injured; the media story is available HERE. Yet when Chris was in the hospital, lying on the gurney in a neck brace, one of the first things he asked was "How is the young man that was driving the car?”

In 2007, the late Elder James E. Faust, then the Second Counselor in the First Presidency, referred to this mishap in an address entitled "The Healing Power of Forgiveness". He noted that 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. He said recent studies showed 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 concluded “that forgiveness … is a liberating gift [that] people can give to themselves".

The bottom line is that YOU are the ultimate beneficiary of forgiveness. When you truly forgive someone else of their trespass, it's like setting down a 100-lb backpack you've been carrying on a road march. It feels so good to be relieved of the burden.

But Elder Faust also notes that forgiveness does not preclude restitution or repentance. Alma 42:25 tells us that mercy cannot rob justice. While forgiveness is a source of power, it does not relieve us of consequences. This is why serious sins must be confessed to one's bishop, so he can properly judge the impact upon one's worthiness to enter a holy temple, or even to maintain formal membership in the Church. And of course, serious crimes must be confessed to the proper secular authority. But when tragedy strikes, Elder Faust reminds us that we should not respond by seeking personal revenge, but instead let justice take its course and then let go. It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge. For all of us who forgive “those who trespass against us,” even those who have committed serious crimes, the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort.

1 comment:

Mary Helen Medina said...

Thank you Chris Williams for the courage you have shown through the miracle of forgiveness "Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light." I was driving home on 1977-78 new years night with my husband and 2 year old daughter. The other driver was a drunk 18 year old. He was not lucky to live. He died on impact. I was left with pain and grief and loneliness. I could say more, but then I would have to write a book instead of a brief comment. I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for 10 years. Maybe one day I can share my testimony with you and your immediate family especially Samuel. Thank you again,for sharing your testimony.
Mary Helen Medina 801-706-5064