Practicing forgiveness

If you want to be good at something, you have to practice. Practice making a pie, playing tennis, driving a car, painting, speaking a foreign language, making a sales presentation—the more dedicated and focused the practice, the better the result.

This can also be said about something that falls in a different category—the act of forgiving. Learning to forgive is basic to the Christian way of life, and it is essential in regeneration and spiritual healing. However, the usual attitude toward forgiveness might be described as "either you have it or you don't"—either you are a naturally forgiving person who never holds a grudge or you are not.

The master Christian, Christ Jesus, left an example to follow—his own life—which was filled with many moments of forgiveness. Which of us, at this point in our experience, is able to forgive as Jesus did—instantly, completely, and with utter compassion? In order truly to be his followers, it's important to learn how to forgive. And once every so often isn't enough. Christ Jesus' words and acts indicate the need to practice forgiveness daily. His Sermon on the Mount includes a prayer—usually referred to as the Lord's Prayer—which has this petition: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Matt. 6:12.

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"The same care one for another"
May 26, 1986

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