All of my life I have heard that forgiveness isn’t really for the person I am forgiving, but for me, the person who needs to forgive. After all, I am the person who gets eaten up inside by the bitterness. The person against whom I hold a grudge may not even be aware of it.
But the benefit of forgiveness goes deeper than that. It is impossible for me to forgive without being changed. Through the process of forgiveness – something that often requires prayer and divine intervention – I become more like my Heavenly Father.
Forgiveness is an event. I cannot just “decide” to forgive. A transformation has to take place. That transformation is bigger than me. It comes from a power greater than my own. It is impossible to explain, but powerful to experience. The opportunity and ability to forgive is a blessing from my Father in Heaven. It is a gift.
Because I have felt the ability, given from God, to forgive others, I can trust in His ability to forgive me.
And so it is – I forgive so that I can be forgiven. Not because Heavenly Father is teaching me a lesson about justice in all things, making sure that the score cards are even. Rather, forgiving makes me forgivable. It helps me become more like Him and it teaches me to trust in His power.
The Atonement is real.