Tuesday, January 10, 2012

George Albert Smith's Personal Creed ~ Forgiveness

From the first time I opened the book, I was so impressed with George Albert Smith.  The book I am referring to is the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith

At the age of 34 years old, George Albert Smith made a list of resolutions that he called his “personal creed”—11 ideals that he committed to live by:
“I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.
“I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.
“I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.
“I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and a happy life.
“I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.
“I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.
“I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.
“I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.
“I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.
“I would not be an enemy to any living soul.
“Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter, I feel it not only a duty but also a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth.”

This is a creed that if we all lived by, we would end all the world's woes.  As one of my personal goals for the year, I am going to try to live by this creed. 

I know that is a big step and hard to do, because, honestly, there are people who have hurt me, badly.  I can't even look them in the face.  How do I apply this creed to them?

There others who despite my best efforts, continue to be unkind and just down right mean people.  It's like, I have run out of cheeks to turn, and still getting slapped.  This is the person who has cheated, lied and mistreated your parents and all you want to do is seek revenge.  But your parents keep forgiving and the bad feelings keep piling up?  How do I apply this creed to them?  How do I deal with it?  It's one thing to do it to me, but to your family?  That's hard.

The bad news?  In D & C 64:10 it says, "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."  The good news?  The Lord understands our pains and sorrows.  He took all that upon himself in the Garden of Gethsemane.  We just need to come to a point where we can accept it and go on.  However, we need to do it.  Pray, fast, talk with loved ones about it, whatever it takes to work through it. 

A loved one hurt me terribly one time.  Cut me to my core.  I didn't think I would ever forgive.  It was thoughtless, stupid and yes, vindictive.  It caused ill feelings with my husband who had trouble dealing with it.  For a time, I worried that he might stop serving God because of this deed and I was angry.  It had taken my husband 19 years to serve God and a thoughtless, spoiled-brat incident had nearly cost me everything.  I was more than angry, I was hurt beyond belief. 

The next couple of years that followed were torturous.  My husband found himself at a loss to forgive and even made snide comments about the perpetrators.  Every snide remark was an arrow to my heart because it not only put me in the middle, but it drove my husband further and further away from the Lord.  It damaged his spirit.

Despite my pain and being in the middle, I knew I had to move past this.  It was damaging to my spirit.  I forced myself to reach out to this family member.  Reaching out felt like reaching out to a traitor or someone who had stolen my prize.  They however, had no clue at the damage they had done and still don't.  At first it was indescribably hard.  I cried and prayed to my Father in Heaven for help.  I could not do this alone. 

I eventually realized that this person needed me just like anyone else needed me.  They needed my love and support to get through this earthly life.  We are all in this together, so we may as well help one another.  And the realization dawned that no matter how badly they had hurt me and damaged my life, I WANTED good things for them.  I would NEVER have done to them what they had done to me.  I had NO desire for revenge, not even from the beginning.   

It has been two years and my husband has forgiven these family members.  He has performed acts of humble service for them and for that I am SO PROUD. 

Was it easy?  No...there are still times when I just want to shake them and wake them up.  But the most important thing is to love them and try to show them the way.  Am I perfect?  Noooooooo.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Far from perfect.  Make mistakes every day.  Confused and can't seem to make good decisions.  But my heart is in the right place.  I love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and I want to be an obedient daughter.  And, even though I don't always like some of them, I do love my brothers and sisters on this Earth.  Then again, some are easier to love.  :D 


1 comment:

  1. I know about the being hurt by family members. It is especially bad when it is a close family member. I am still working on the forgetting part. I find it fairly easy to forgive. It is forgetting that is so hard for me. That may be because the same kind of thing has happened more than once. Thank you for the inspiration to keep trying. I am reminded that God truly knows my heart and when He deems it is time He will help me with getting past it. I refuse to let this interfere with my reaching out to the Father and joining him at the appointed time in the Celestial Kingdom because I continue to hold a grudge. I will forgive and forget these transgrations somehow. One at a time. One day at a time. Thank you for your inspiration.