Recently, at a Relief Society activity, the first counselor deeply hurt my feelings in front of all the sisters. I know the Church is true so I would never stop going to church and I know I need to forgive her. Yet I am still struggling with the hurt feelings. I have searched the scriptures but there really isn’t anywhere in there that talks about what anyone did to help them forgive another person. Just that we are commanded to forgive. Can you help me forgive this sister and “heal” my feelings?
First I commend you for not letting this hurt keep you from going to church. We are often told “the Atonement can help you”, but seldom do we discuss how that happens. What is really meant by that is not very clear either. I believe the phrase “the Atonement will heal you” is a bit of a misnomer. I see it this way: the Atonement itself (an event that has passed) does not heal you, Christ does. Christ has the power to heal our hearts because He suffered the Atonement. Because He suffered for the sins of the world, and the resulting pain to others, He is uniquely qualified to have empathy, understanding, and wisdom to know exactly what it is each of us needs to be healed of the wounds we have suffered because of others.
The scriptures do tell us how this is done, but the answer is “hidden” in a story and not easy to find. You might call it a parable. It’s in the Old Testament, 1 Samuel 25. I recently shared this story with another reader here: Is having an affair grounds for excommunication? So I’ll just give a short synopsis now, and if you like you can read the longer explanation (and the scripture reference) later. David had been working for a man named Nabal, and when the time came for Nabal to pay he refused and called David a robber. David was incensed and gathered his men, planning to march on Nabal’s house and kill all the men. Fortunately, Nabal’s wife heard about the incident and gathered all the supplies that had been promised to David, then met David on the road. She gave him all that he should have received and then said, “Please forgive me.”
In this story, Abigail is a type of the Savior. She did what He does for us. Because of the Atonement, He can “repay” your hurt. Now, for us that does not necessarily happen immediately. It can take time. The way He healed people physically was different for different people…sometimes He put His hands on someone, another time He put mud on a blind man’s eyes, and the way He heals our hearts varies as well. I can’t tell you exactly how the Savior will help you heal these hurt feelings, only that He can and He will if you go to Him. One example might be helping you understand why the sister said that hurtful thing, sometimes understanding can take the pain away. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding, or maybe she was stressed because of something that had nothing to do with you. Perhaps what she said hurt you because it reminded you of some pain from your past that is unhealed. Perhaps the Holy Ghost will direct you to talk to her and tell her how her comment made you feel. There are a myriad of possibilities, but the Savior knows exactly why that comment hurt you and what you need to heal.
So what you need to do is pray and ask Heavenly Father for help. He will send you help via Christ and the Holy Ghost. Be patient, it may take time. Some hurts, like abuse can take years to heal and forgive. So be patient, and know that as long as you desire to forgive, and ask for help, it will come.