I’ve been struggling the last few weeks with some bitterness over a dispute. We feel like we’re being taken advantage of, but it feels unChristian to pursue legal action. And so, every day, I get caught up in a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings that range from regret to disbelief that they could be so unkind to anger over their unjust treatment of us to bitterness that justice will only be served if we do them an unkindness in return.
It’s tough to admit but I’ve been caught in this cycle before. I hold on to wrongs done me until they canker on my soul. I know I need to resolve in myself to forgive and forget, but what about justice?!
Captain Moroni and I seem to be on the same page these days. Alma 59 and 60 comprise the culmination of Captain Moroni’s history. Throughout the war chapters we get little notes that Moroni wrote to the government for supplies, reinforcements, etc., but the government has stopped answering his letters. Moroni reaches a point of anger and desperation in which he threatens to use his military forces to overthrow the government. He feels like the government is being unjust, he feels like he isn’t receiving the support he needs to reach the objectives of the campaign, he feels like he’s letting the army down and putting them at terrible risk.
When the chief governor finally writes back to reveal that he has had to escape from Zarahemla due to local divisions and rebellions, Moroni forgets his anger and rushes to aid Pahoran.
I was touched by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer at a friend’s service of lessons and carols tonight: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6; Luke 11, NT). When we petition the Lord for forgiveness, He requires that we must forgive others. The Lord also promises that if we repent of our sins/trespasses, He will remember them no more (D&C 58:42; Hebrews 10:17, NT; Jeremiah 31:34, OT). As I have learned in the past, the greater sin lies with me when I refuse to forgive. It drains my emotional and spiritual strength, the issue becomes distracting and all-consuming, and it makes me very unhappy.
Captain Moroni could have sought for justice but instead he quickly forgave and rushed to the aid of the chief governor. Rather than becoming bitter over Pahoran’s lack of communication and the cost to the army, Moroni focuses on fulfilling his objective and role as captain of the army.
Perhaps it’s time for me to focus on my objectives rather than let anger and bitterness overtake me. My objectives to raise my children well, who become steadfast and firm in the faith, don’t rely on our rental dispute being resolved. But my children could benefit from our example of forgiveness. And they will benefit from me being less distracted and angry! It’s probably time to let go, forgive those who trespassed against us, and move on.