OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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mercyngrace
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by mercyngrace » 06 May 2011, 14:37

Thoreau wrote:mercyngrace,

Thank you for those thoughts on forgiveness. I needed them. I asked a GA about forgiveness and all I got was a scripture quote and maybe I should to talk to my priesthood leader. Your thoughts are the answer I was looking for.
Thoreau,
You're very welcome. We do a lot of talking about forgiveness without explaining how it is accomplished in practical terms or what kind of thinking is required to get to that place where we've really let go and moved on. I wish we did a better job of this in the church.

Timpanogos/Rock Slider,
If I were one of the three Nephites, I would have already smitten half of the MADB. ;)
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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SilentDawning
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by SilentDawning » 08 May 2011, 07:00

MnG, since your landmark post earlier prescribing a process for forgiveness (humility plus love), I've been trying to apply those two principles with respect to someone who hurt me deeply -- the circumstances around which led me here to STayLDS, and contributed to my most recent spate of overall lack of commitment because it happened while I was a leader in my Ward?

The humility part is clear to me....I'm find it very easy to adopt the mental attitude that "I have my own weaknesses, and so does the person who wronged me"...and find I'm able to look at the person with less "bite" after going through that exercise. It takes some of the angst out of the situation when you realize that you have just as many sins on your own head.

However, the love part is hard. I'm going to be blunt here. I don't feel that I really care if they are spared of any consequences for what they did. I never WISHED evil on them, and never hoped for it, but frankly, I don't feel I care what happens to them regarding their missteps either. NOw, please no one go and lambast me over that admission -- I'm being honest here with a view to maybe learning to think differently. And yes, it shows a lack of charity at this point, and I'm aware that if we have charity we have nothing...etc. How do you get to the point you care about seeing them spared from suffering for what they did? Particularly when in the case of the person I'm thinking of, they actually enjoyed what they did to me and seem to have no regrets? In fact, they are totally cold to me when I see them. We might point to the BoM which says to pray for charity and to be filled with God's love, but I haven't found that to be much help.

The other problem is -- trust. I tend to take these things pretty hard. And even though I've managed to forgive certain people in the past, the hurt and turmoil and other emotions I felt are so intense I tend to steer clear of the person. It's a form of self-protection because I don't want to have to deal with any further angst they might cause -- particularly when they have shown unrepetentent tendencies. They seem like a loaded gun to me whenever I see them. With the incident that happened to me, it actually triggered my first bout of clinical depression which lasted about a month. I got out of it with three weeks of meds prescribed by a doctor, and have been OK ever since. So, I have this desire to NOT expose myself to the person to avoid a repeat.

Advice? Concrete steps or mental attitude conditioners you have adopted to at least adopt a sense of love and complete forgiveness?? As a member of the Church for almost 3 decades, I have naturally heard a lot about forgiveness, and certainly haven't mastered that process. However, I had never heard the humility/love combination, so perhaps you have something different and additional to offer that I have not heard.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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mercyngrace
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by mercyngrace » 08 May 2011, 08:14

Regarding LOVE, you have to stop looking at the individual and start looking at Christ as their advocate. I explain what helped me in the book review section about ThePeaceGiver:
Re: The Peacegiver
by mercyngrace » 16 Feb 2011, 00:21

I wasn't a fan of the way this book was written - the style of teaching through the fictional narrative of a grandfather (if I recall correctly) returning from the spirit world to teach his grandson lessons about making marriage work.

HOWEVER...

I loved what I learned reading this book! The message about how to practically apply the atonement to our relationships changed my life.

The most significant thing I learned came from the retelling of the story of David, Nabal, and Abigail. Abigail becomes a type of Christ in this story, interceding on behalf of Nabal but also saving David from sinning in anger. What occurred to me as I read the vivid description of this account was the physical placement of each of these characters. Abigail was physically in between Nabal and David. For years, I had tried to forgive others without complete success because I had the characters in the wrong place. It was like my offender was before me and Christ was behind me. I received mercy from Christ so I would turn and offer it to my offender. With this positioning the weight of forgiveness rested on my shoulders alone. As I turned to forgive my offender, my back was to Christ and all I could see was the person who had hurt me.

The story of Abigail put Christ between me and my offender so that I had to look at Christ instead of the one who'd hurt me. There in front of me, arms outstretched and exuding unconditional love, was my Savior saying "upon me let this iniquity be". I could see the love He had for my offender as well as the love He had for me and I couldn't even look at my offender without seeing the face of the Lord. Only after applying this principle to all my relationships was I able to completely experience a change of heart toward all my fellowmen.

The Peacegiver facilitated this revelation. I can't say enough good about it.
Regarding TRUST, I have found this hard also. Trust is a huge issue for me. What I have learned is that letting go of past offenses is a choice we make. Notice in D&C 58:42, the Lord says "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more." Remember is an active verb. To remember something is a choice we make. We tie a string around our fingers to help us remember, we make notes to ourselves, we create mnemonic devices. Here the Lord says He will actively refuse to remember - He will make an effort NOT to keep score. Likewise, if we are to reconcile ourselves to each other, ultimately we have to choose to "remember no more".

When I am actively choosing not to remember offenses, I focus on positive memories I have with the person who has offended me. I mentally stop being their prosecutor and start advocating for them. This doesn't mean I give trust that is dangerous or unwarranted but I don't withhold trust just based on hurt feelings or anger.

Let me meditate on this for a while - Trust is an issue I'm still working on and maybe something will come to me that will help us both.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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mercyngrace
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by mercyngrace » 08 May 2011, 09:07

PS There is a wonderful series of sermons that I listened to this past year which were very helpful - I'm running out the door to church but when I get home, I'll dig up the link and post it. They are by a Presbyterian minister and are in 30-35 minute segments. As I recall there are 7 sermons in the series.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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cwald
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by cwald » 08 May 2011, 09:27

I think the church does a poor job teaching forgiveness. They do a great job telling us how to repent and receive forgiveness, but forgivingothers, not so good.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

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Heber13
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by Heber13 » 08 May 2011, 09:57

I've enjoyed reading this thread. All very good thoughts.

I was thinking about this topic, how the church can be divinely led, yet imperfect in many ways as a mortal institution. It is a paradox, isn't it?

Perhaps it is not so different than other teachings I embrace, but maybe just more literal and tangible, right in front of me to deal with every week, as opposed to a theoretical doctrine.

But ultimately, I see this as not much different than God creating a plan of salvation which is divinely led and perfectly crafted ... And yet allows for so much evil and failure and pain and confusion.

If the plan was really divinely created, shouldn't it perfectly provide peace and happiness for all? We might think so, but it would miss the purpose of it's mission if it was so. We need opposition and not have access to all answers if we are to experience and learn. We realize there are short-term failures or variation even while long-term progress and success is being made.

I have often thought the church is the same. Divinely inspired, even led by revelation by prophets. Yet it cannot be perfect or it would not be able to provide the environment we need to learn how to become more Christ-like.

If it had unlimited funds, never had any controversial stances on marriage or race, and perfectly stood out as a different institution than every other on the earth....wouldn't it just be so easy to join it and believe in it? Maybe too easy. And the church allows schmucks like me to be called to serve in it ... Which is a great way for me to learn to be better, even while others need to deal with me making mistakes and holding back the church from perfection.

How does this work or make sense for me? Because the church doesn't need to be perfect to achieve it's purpose. Just like the plan of salvation does not need to be evil-free to achieve it's plan.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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mercyngrace
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by mercyngrace » 08 May 2011, 14:38

mercyngrace wrote:PS There is a wonderful series of sermons that I listened to this past year which were very helpful - I'm running out the door to church but when I get home, I'll dig up the link and post it. They are by a Presbyterian minister and are in 30-35 minute segments. As I recall there are 7 sermons in the series.
Okay, I'm home and I've dug up the link but the download pages aren't connecting for me - they are timing out. You may have to try repeatedly.
The sermons are by Tim Keller and they are the basis for his book "The Prodigal God" which is also wonderful. Of course, he includes non-LDS doctrines but most are relatable to LDS teachings. For example, when he discusses 'original sin', I relate his comments to 'the natural man' and instead of 'our homesickness for The Garden', I think of a longing for the 'premortal life'.

You can download them here: http://timothykeller.com/media/

Click the Resources for Individuals.
Then click The Prodigal God.
From there you can download each sermon in order - they're numbered.
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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SilentDawning
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by SilentDawning » 08 May 2011, 18:18

Thanks for the link MnG. I will give them a try.

I have a couple more questions though.

1. Why include the love component. Why not just do the humility train of thought and forgive at that point. Why is the whole love component necessary, in your opinion?

2. Do you think it's possible to get the forgiveness from a different sources than humility and love? For example, I'm reading The Beginner's Guide to Walking the Buddha's Eightfold Path. The author quotes the Dalai Lama who observed:
Now, when you recognize that all beings are equal in both their desire for happiness and their right to obtain it, you automatically feel empathy and closeness to them....Nor is this wish selective; it applies equally to all.
Applying this to forgiveness, if you think about someone who has wronged you, and realize their actions were simply their version of a pursuit of happiness, and that you got hurt in the way, doesn't that help one forgive, and see that we are all simply trying to achieive happiness? And that at times, we collide with each other?

I reminds me of a comment my Dad made once. We were in business together, and someone kept calling us for sales reasons. I said I was getting a little disturbed at the interruptions, and my Dad said "He's just trying to earn a living". Same principle -- when someone wrongs you "they think they are simply making their lives better".

When I think of a woman who distributed this very nasty note to the entire Ward council about me personally (which hurt me deeply) years ago, if you look at her actions as simply a quest for trying to do what she felt would bring her the most happiness (rightly or wrongly) it doesn't seem as personal, and paves the way to forgiveness....

I'm sure there are other sources, and I would be open to listening to them. I so detest having grudges anymore.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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mercyngrace
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Joined: 18 Jan 2011, 12:26

Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by mercyngrace » 08 May 2011, 18:59

The way I see it, love is essential because the entire goal is to become like God. That means that our motivations have to be His motivations. If God is Love as the scriptures attest, then certainly His acts of forgiveness, mercy, and grace are born of that central attribute.

When we try to forgive without love, we are acting on intellect alone. We are thinking through the logic of mitigating factors and exonerating evidences. That's a start but it is not enough to bring about complete forgiveness.

When we forgive, we do what Christ did. We lay our whole selves on the altar, or take up our cross, and bear shame, injustice, sometimes dishonor, or even humiliation so that another person can be saved. Intellect alone will only bear so much of this injustice before we analyze the unfairness and seek a rational course which is recompense - even if that recompense amounts to simply setting the record straight so that we can feel justified in being less merciful than we ought.

Lasting and complete forgiveness has to include the heart because it is an irrational, unreasonable act to willingly bear injustice. If your offer of forgiveness doesn't include love, it won't last. Eventually, you will resent the burden you are helping to bear. You will hold a grudge. You will keep score.

Now if it seems like I am saying that forgiveness comes at personal cost of the one who has been offended, let me be clear. That's EXACTLY what I am saying. There is a reason we say "to err is human, to forgive divine". Forgiveness, the extension of mercy and grace to the undeserving, is the act that deifies. Christ did it and because He did, the Father exalted Him (Philippians 2).

We do it, and we are promised eternal glory, but better than that we are blessed with peace here and now. I'm speaking from experience, SD, this is the only way. It's a tough mountain to climb but it's worth the hike and the air is clear and fresh at the summit. I promise!
Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. ~ Luke 7:47

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SilentDawning
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Re: OK, I'll try to listen with an open mind

Post by SilentDawning » 08 May 2011, 19:56

Thanks. I think it would be a lot easier just to quit at the humility or "equality of rights to pursue happiness" approach suggested by Buddhism. In fact, for me, to simply get to this phase would be an achievement. Perhaps I need to let that much settle on me for a while until I'm ready to actually love the person.

Also, what about self-protection and trust? This is tricky, because claiming the right to no longer trust can feed the grudge in a back-door kind of way. However, there can be good reasons for never trusting the person again in this life. And then, we have the need to protect oneself from such things as depression or mental hardship once an unrepentent person has shown the capacity to inflict such suffering on us. Once you get your thoughts together on trust, I'd love to hear what you think about its relationship to forgiveness.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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