Finding Forgiveness

One of my favorite speakers is Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He has an amazing voice that always soothes me, but can also lift me up and have me shiver with the power and authority he has. He recently said, “Whether we have caused that pain or been the recipient of the pain, those wounds need to be healed so that life can be as rewarding as God intended it to be.”

My last post discussed how difficult it can be to feel like you fit in, especially in a religious faith. It was a wind up post for the other things I’ve had on my heart and mind that I’m going to address today.

I have a great capacity for lying to myself. Negative choices or mistakes that have damaged me get hidden in the folds of my mind and I act as if it never happened. Considering my personality type (INFJ), this isn’t surprising. However, like emotions that get bottled up, they eventually break free and I have to face it. There are many small sins that can easily be handled between me and the Lord in prayer, but some sins need a higher authority to help guide repentance. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe in talking to my Bishop (similar to a pastor or priest) when I’m facing challenges or sins and repenting of things I can’t handle on my own. The article I wrote had drudged up so much pain. Some of my choices occurred before and after I made sacred covenants or promises to God and because of this, talking about my sins with my Bishop meant the possibility of serious consequences.

The idea of being met with poor judgment or even excommunication was the scariest thing I’d ever considered. My religious faith is a big part of my identity and how I see the world. If I was no longer a member, what would I do? How would I handle facing family and friends with this knowledge? Would I come back? Now, let me be clear, I was playing out the worst possibilities of punishment in my head. What occurs during repentance is between you and the Lord, and in some cases, your Bishop.

In the end, talking to my Bishop was indeed the hardest and scariest thing I have ever done in my life. He was more kind and compassionate than I felt like I deserved. When it was over, I felt more relief than I have since I was probably a child. At the end of our interview, he began to offer the prayer and instead said he felt impressed to give me a blessing. I can’t even remember everything that was said, but I will never forget that feeling of peace and love. I was told that my Heavenly Father was proud of me and that all the anxiety and troubles I had been facing would pass.

Forgiveness is there for me and I’m working on it. It’s not over just because I spoke with my Bishop. The burden is no longer on my shoulders as the Lord is carrying it for me, but now I have to recognize that He’s doing that for me and that I’m deserving of it. The idea of the Atonement is something I’ve heard my entire life and while I understand it to some degree, I’ve never been very knowledgeable or truly understanding of the concept. Maybe this time, it will all make sense.

As always,
Single Mormon Lady

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