All of us have been in a situation where someone has offended, injured or harmed us – whether intentionally or not. It’s hard not to let the actions of others fester inside or create a wedge in the relationship. But how are you suppose to forgive someone who doesn’t say, “Sorry” or ask for forgiveness?
Anger or resentment towards another only hurt you. It’s been likened to drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
The truth is, forgiveness is not for the one being forgiven, it’s for you!
There is a wonderful story found in 1 Samuel 25 in the Old Testament. David (of David and Goliath) has been living in the desert with his men and helping protect the flocks of a wealthy nomad named Nabal. When David and his men need provisions they send a messenger to Nabal who promptly denies the request. This infuriates David to the point where he and his men plan to war against Nabal, killing him and every male in his household. Fortunately, Nabal’s wife Abigail overhead the request and refusal and realized the mistake of her husband. Of her own accord Abigail gathers all that David’s men requested and more. She sets out to intercept David and when she meets his approaching army she bows herself to the ground pleading “Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be. Please my lord, I saw not the young men you sent to Nabal, my husband. But see, I have provided. Please accept my offering, that this shall be no grief unto thee. I beg for my house, yes, but for thee also, my lord, that this shall not be an offence of heart unto thee, either that thou hast shed blood causeless, or that my lord hath avenged himself. For the Lord will certainly make thee a sure house because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days. So it ever may be so, my lord, I pray thee, forgive the trespass of thine handmaid.”
David, realizing that Abigail is innocent of wrongdoing and has provided everything that was requested and more, accepts her offering, spares the household of Nabal and peace is restored. In this story Abigail is a type of Christ. Though blameless, she stood between David and the one who had done him wrong and accepted the blame in order to make peace.
Similarly Christ has done the same for each of us. Many of us are aware that through the process of the atonement the Savior paid for our sins and misdeeds. However, have you stopped to think that he has already paid for the mistakes of others as well?
When I need to forgive another who has not asked for forgiveness I simply visualize the Savior standing between me and the offender. I imagine the sinless Christ asking me to forgive HIM for the pain this person has caused me. This is the moment where I either reject His atonement as insufficient or am willing to accept the power of His great atoning sacrifice to mend broken things. As I honor the price He has already paid I am able to give all my anger/resentment/pain to the Savior and allow His love to make me whole again.