The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

May 13, 2017

Forgiveness, General Authorities, General Conference, Hanks

Comments Off on To Really Forgive, To Really Forget, and To Really Rejoice

As I observed two of our lovely grown daughters that night an incident from the past came to mind that forms the burden of my brief message today. I still think of it with a tendency to tears. Another little girl had joined our family and was of course much loved. Occasionally I had called her older sister “Princess,” but had thought about that, and, since the second young lady was equally deserving of royal treatment, had concluded that it would be well for her to share the title, if it were used at all.

So one day I called to her, “Come on, Princess. Let’s go to the store for mother.” She seemed not to hear. “Honey,” her mother said, “daddy is calling you.”

“Oh,” she answered, with a quiet sadness that hurt my heart, “he doesn’t mean me.”

In memory I can still see the resignation on her innocent child face and hear it in her voice, when she thought that her father didn’t mean her.

I am one who believes that God loves and will never cease to love all of his children, and that he will not cease to hope for us or reach for us or wait for us. In Isaiah it is written:

“And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you” (Isa. 30:18).

And yet over the earth, across the years, I have met some of God’s choicest children who find it very difficult to believe in their hearts that he really means them. They know that he is the source of comfort and pardon and peace and that they must seek him and open the door for him and accept his love, and yet even in their extremity they find it difficult to believe that his promised blessings are for them. Some have offended God and their own consciences and are earnestly repentant but they find the way back blocked by their unwillingness to forgive themselves or to believe that God will forgive them, or sometimes by a strange reluctance in some of us to really forgive, to really forget, and to really rejoice.

. . . .

“Holocausts,” it has been written, “are caused not only by atomic explosion. A holocaust occurs whenever a person is put to shame.” (Abraham Joshua Heschel.)

It is good to remember what Joseph Smith wrote a long time ago to the Saints scattered abroad:

“Let everyone labor to prepare himself for the vineyard, sparing a little time to comfort the mourners; to bind up the broken-hearted; to reclaim the backslider; to bring back the wanderer; to re-invite into the kingdom such as have been cut off, by encouraging them to lay to while the day lasts, and work righteousness, and, with one heart and one mind, prepare to help redeem Zion, that goodly land of promise, where the willing and obedient shall be blessed. Souls are as precious in the sight of God as they ever were; and the Elders were never called to drive any down to hell, but to persuade and invite all men everywhere to repent, that they may become the heirs of salvation.” (History of the Church, 2:229.)

My child at first did not understand that my invitation was meant for her. She thought it was for someone else. “He didn’t mean me.” If any within the sound of my voice today need assurance that God’s call to repentance and his invitation to mercy and forgiveness and love is for them.

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Elder Marion D. Hanks
He Means Me

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