Jr. High can be one of the hardest times in a child’s life. I wish that I could say that I wasn’t one of those kids, but that’s not the case. I did not have the mouth–brain filter that I’ve since worked on back then. I said something that was apparently very mean to a friend at the lunch table. I didn’t think it was that hurtful. I was giving my opinion and did it in a joking manner. But it still offended a friend of mine. Because I had offended her, her attitude towards me was making me uncomfortable and upset. When I confronted her about it, she took everything out of context and got even more upset. To get back at me, she told two other people that were at my usual lunch table some untrue and hurtful things. After that point, I was seen as the bad guy in everything.
For the rest of my ninth grade year, those two people insulted and teased me every chance that they got. The pain was too much most days, so I ended up spending most of my time in the counselor’s office to get away from them. When I moved on to High School, the boy and girl that were hurting me emotionally went to different High Schools than I. For a year and a half, I tried my hardest to forget everything that had happened and focus on making new friends in High School. And for that year and a half, I forgot all about the guy and girl that made me cry almost every day. Half way through my 11th year, my family moved more south in the town we were living in. Because of this, I ended up going to a new High School. My first day that I had drama class, I walked down to the Arts side of the building. Sitting on the steps, talking to one of my old and good friends, was the guy that made my 9th grade year so awful. When I saw him, my eyes opened as wide, as my jaw dropped and my body shook. I didn’t know what I was going to do. But the second that I saw him smile and walk over to me, to give me a hug, I knew what to do. I was going to forgive him, right there and then; I was going to forgive him. And I did. I did not mention anything that happened in 9th grade, and neither did he. He moved past it, and so did I.
It’s discouraging to see how many movies now a days are so focused on revenge, on hurting those who have wronged you in some way. About sixty percent of the movies that I see in the theaters are based around that topic. My question is why can’t people see the pattern in every revenge story that they watch. It never ends well for anybody.
Forgiveness is something that is taught in depth in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in most other churches, and is one of the hardest things to do. It’s hard to let go of the hurt that has been embedded in your heart and soul. But it’s also one of the most rewarding things when it’s done right. There are times when forgiveness can only come through prayer and sometimes fasting. Holding on to hate and pain doesn’t do anything to the people who have wronged you. Keeping those feelings inside for so long turns you into a spiteful and angry person. Holding grudges eats away at you and makes you ugly, inside and out. There is no peace in holding it and building your life around wanting revenge.
Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge accourding to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also.
Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.
And ye shall also forgive one another your trespasses; for verily I say unto you, he that forgiveth not his neighbor’s trespasses when he says that he repents, the same hath brought himself under condemnation (Mosiah 26: 29—31).
One story that I can relate to and that most of you know is The Count of Monte Cristo. Because the villain was jealous of the main character, he ruined his life and made him suffer for being happy. The main character, Edmond Dantes, spends the rest of the story plotting ways to get revenge. As you read, you can see how much he changes. He becomes a cynical and hateful person, completely different from the sweet and caring person that he was in the beginning.
In stark contrast, Jesus Christ was bound, beaten, mocked, and spat upon before He was nailed to a cross on the Golgotha, not even a day after he knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane and suffered for all of our sins. And still as he hung on the cross, bruised, broken, and in more pain than we can ever imagine, He raised his head to the heavens and said with a soft voice. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).