(December 11, 2015)
We mortals continually seek the impose limits on the forgiveness of the Lord. We like to think that His forgiveness is just broad enough to cover our sins, but not broad enough to cover those of our enemy. This, put in these terms, is obviously ridiculous, but it doesn’t stop it from being true.
There are two pieces of this chapter that elucidate this concept. The first being that Mormon was instructed of the Lord to preach to the people that they were to repent and they would be spared. Does anyone doubt that if they had followed the path of the people of
(when Jonah preached to them) that they would have been saved? What makes this illuminating is just how far
down the road of wickedness they had gone at this point – and despite that, the
Lord still remained read to forgive them if they repented.
The second piece was the Lord’s statement that vengeance was His and He will repay. Although at first glance it might not seem like a statement on forgiveness, but it really is. If we are pursuing vengeance, what we are saying is that we are justified in seeking the destruction of our enemies. This is only true (absent immediate self-defense) if our enemies are beyond the reach of the Atonement. Otherwise those we destroy are those who may have received the Gospel, repented, and acquired their eternal birthright. If we acknowledge that the Atonement is broad enough to cover those who hurt us, we must also acknowledge that vengeance belongs to the Lord and no one else.
When we are hurting, it can be a bitter pill to swallow. But the blessing is that attached to this bitter pill is the promise of forgiveness for our sins as well – and that is a blessing that makes the rest worthwhile. And, eventually, perhaps we reach the point where we are sufficiently filled with charity that we find the pill no longer bitter, but rather sweet.