Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Importance of Forgiveness

Dearest Mikayla,

Here we are again, coming up on August 14th. I'm grateful to have turned the awful day into something that will hopefully inspire many. I love having something to do in your honor, in your memory.. and plus it helps us to be better people. It's just a good idea all around.

My mind has been racing with all sorts of thoughts on the subject of forgiveness. I've been seeing how just within my own marriage how important.... hard, but important, it is to forgive. No matter what. Period. It does not matter what they say or do, we always have the choice to act or react. React with anger and revenge or Act with forgiveness.

A certain story keeps coming up in my mind, an experience that is awe-inspiring. One that brings great peace to my heart as I think of the hope this world has with people who can forgive like this. This story of Chris Williams, who lost half of his family in a car accident, is such an experience. The spirit felt while listening to his story is undeniable, there is no doubt that Christ is working through him.


What I was witnessing was absolutely unreal. I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned my head forward and closed my eyes. I was ready for death. I tried to will myself to pass out; I wanted to succumb to the process of having my spirit leave my body. From deep inside my body came a sound of excruciating anguish and pain, of body and spirit being crushed. 

It was more profound than just feeling helpless or powerless or feeling physical pain. As I struggled to make it stop, I opened my eyes and turned to look out the driver’s side window. I saw the car that had just hit us resting upside down on its roof about 50 feet from my car. Suddenly an immense peace and silence filled the inside of the vehicle, my soul, and my thoughts. 

"I had no idea who had just hit us, and my mind didn’t think to consider if they were all right or not or what circumstances might have caused them to cross the median and strike us. I simply looked at the car in silence. My thoughts went quiet, I felt at peace, and then I heard a voice that was not my own in my mind as clearly as if it had come from someone seated next to me. It wasn’t a peaceful, whispered voice, nor was it the still, small prompting of the Spirit; it was straightforward and filled with power, and the voice said, “Let it go!”
 As I lay on that gurney I could feel the love the Savior had for that teenage boy. It was a soul-transforming and refining experience.
I felt no anger, no desire for retribution or justice, no questioning as to why this had happened; just an earnest desire to say the things the Savior would say, extending the same tokens of mercy and love that He always extends. 
Immediately I knew what I had to say, and it wasn’t anything that I had prepared. It was a short and simple expression of what the Savior wanted me to say:

This truly is a bitter cup that my family has been asked to partake of, but with such a miraculous outpouring of love and prayer from the community, I know that it will all be all right one day. 

On behalf of my sweet wife, our children, and my extended family, we would invite you if you are in a position to extend a single act of kindness, a token of mercy, or an expression of forgiveness. Would you do it by Valentine’s Day and then, if you feel to do so, write that experience down and share it with my two surviving boys by sending it to the address that the radio and TV outlets will provide. I can think of no greater valentine that you could give to someone, or that my sons and I could present to my sweetheart, than that. 

May God bless every individual one of you for your goodness. Thank you.

When I made the initial request at the press conference, I had no idea of the responses that simple challenge would create. I received thousands of letters and e-mails from all over the world describing acts of kindness, mercy, and charity that were offered. Hundreds contained this line of reasoning: “If you can forgive someone for doing that to your family, certainly I can forgive,” and then they would describe to me what they were newly committed to letting go of.
“If there is anything you have seen me do, or heard me say, or have read about me regarding forgiveness, you should know that it was merely the Savior working through me.”
"If my prayers weren’t being answered in the way I expected, they would be answered in a much better way, and it would be worth the wait."

What burden could you lay at the Lord’s feet, today, that He might be allowed to work miracles in your life?