Some years ago I badly hurt someone and have been constantly plagued by what I did and unable to move on. The opportunity to fulfill the interpersonal step in repentance is long gone, as I have no way of contacting them. Yet, I feel the Lord has forgiven me for what I’ve done, but I can’t seem to find peace and closure with my actions until I can ask them for forgiveness. With interpersonal situations, how do I make my peace depend wholly on the Savior?
Thank you for the sincerity of your heart and the desire you have to come unto Christ and to be perfected in him. As I read your question, there are a few thoughts that enter into my heart and mind: 1) We are perfected through Christ, and trusting in that sanctification is necessary in finding peace. 2) The peace you are desiring may never come. 3) If you feel you need to contact them, and it is necessary for you to find closure, then do all you can to find them, and if you can’t find them then trust in the grace of God to find closure knowing you have done all you could.
We are Perfected through Christ — Sanctification
In the Book of Moses we are provided this doctrine (Moses 6: 60), “For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified.” This scripture correlates with the words of Moroni when he declared (Moroni 10:31-32), “Ye, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness…. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ…then ye are sanctified in Christ by the grace of God.”
Through repentance, we are keeping the commandments (water). As we repent, and as we keep the commandments (enduring to the end), we are filled with the Holy Ghost (Justification by Spirit), enabling us to further deny all ungodliness. As we deny all ungodliness, we are then perfected in God by the grace of Christ. Our perfection is not our own. Often our lack of peace, our frustration, results from the knowledge that we are not perfect, thus our own soul torments our spirit, and the only way to find comfort is to turn to Christ again, as Nephi did in 2 Nephi 4:18, “And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.”
The Peace/Closure you are Desiring May Never Come
In light of Nephi’s words, when he focused primarily on himself the peace he desired was inhibited by the sins which easily beset him. He desired to rejoice, as yourself. He desired closure, as yourself. This peace, this closure, will never come if we look inward and not outward toward Christ. We, who come unto Christ, recognize our awful state before God. We understand we have transgressed his laws. We understand the transgression of God’s law enacts punishment/discipline. We understand, our heart groans knowing we are a fallen people, and we know some of our decisions were made with knowledge that they were wrong. All the more causing our hearts to groan instead of rejoice.
As we keep the commandments (water/covenant), we are filled with God’s spirit (justification — promised blessing of covenant), and we are sanctified through Christ (fulfillment of covenant), and we trust in Christ the advocate with our Father. The Spirit is a member of the Godhead. He will not dwell in unholy temples, as the spirit does not always strive with the sons and daughters of God. If we have felt this Spirit (justification), then we also know we have received sanctification and it is natural for the disciple of Christ to feel anguish for sins of past, and when we do, remember Nephi’s words, “I know if whom I have trusted.”
I have found this peace, this closure, never comes when I am inward focused. When I am focusing on my own strengths, my own skills, and the thought of “I knew better.” I have also discovered, I receive this peace, this closure, when I repent, I feel the spirit, and I outwardly focus on Christ and his grace, his sanctification. And despite this knowledge, I still groan because I knew I made a decision against the commandments of God. We still however, move forward, knowing God’s words are true and faithful, and none of his words pass away, all are fulfilled.
Unable to Contact — I have Done All I Could
If you feel you need to contact them, the question is simple, “Have I done all that I can to contact them”? If so, then trust fully in the grace of Christ, denying not his power, that he is able to save. If not, then think of every possible way you could contact them, do all you can, and if you still cannot find them, then allow your heart to find peace in the grace of God because you have done all you could.