Does this not go against the 2nd Article of Faith, which states that men will be punished for their own sins? Furthermore, is the Lord condoning the holding of a grudge until we are paid back in the end of verse 47? If you could clarify some of this for me it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
I have commented on D&C 98:38-48 before, but will gladly sum it up for you concerning grudges. “If … thine enemy … repent,” the scriptures teach, “thou shalt forgive him, and shalt hold it no more as a testimony against thine enemy.” Forgiveness is the main theme here, even “until seventy times seven” times. If, on the other hand, he is unrepentant, the theme is still largely forgiveness. It doesn’t matter if it’s first, second, or third time, “thou shalt forgive him.” The fourth time changes the rules slightly. This time around, “thou shalt not forgive him, but shalt bring these testimonies before the Lord.” After this, however, your job is done. You have testified of the grievance, and must now leave the matter in the Lord’s hands. The Lord assures, “I, the Lord, will avenge thee” as a reminder that vengeance is His, and matters of justice and judgment are best left in His hands. Additionally, the principle of forgiveness is still in play, for the instant he repents “thou shalt forgive him with all thine heart”.
Why are the offender’s children mentioned in this two-party dispute? It’s simple the natural social law of the third and fourth generation. D&C 98 was given in the context of the Missouri persecutions. The grievance against the saints was largely cultural and would be passed on from father to son. Such culture changes of necessity span generations. When an individual changes the direction of his family tree for the best, it is a fresh start. For that person, it doesn’t matter whether she was raised by a Hatfield or McCoy, any influence of past familial offenses are inconsequential. When this happens, true saints should be generous enough not to hold past sins against them. If this change does not happen, the saints should be aware that the person’s culture includes hostile attitudes, but recognizes that the Lord is both just and merciful, and prays for redress.