ARP Step 8

Step 8: Seeking Forgiveness


KEY PRINCIPLE: Make a written list of all persons you have harmed and become willing to make restitution to them.


PEACEABLE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST

“I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.

“And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men” (Moroni 7:3–4).

  • In the first seven steps, you began a process of becoming a peaceable follower of Christ. When you are at peace with the Lord, you are better prepared to be at peace with others. What other steps do you need to take to be at peace with the people in your life?

  • Write about the wisdom of taking the steps in order.

THE LORD’S PERFECT LOVE

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love [God], because he first loved us” (1 John 4:18–19).

  • The idea of making amends can be frightening if you focus on doing it perfectly. How can your trust in the Lord’s perfect love for you and for the person from whom you seek forgiveness strengthen your resolve to make restitution wherever possible?

REACHING OUT TO OTHERS

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:37–38).

  • Even though you may fear that some people will reject your efforts to make peace with them, do not let this fear keep you from putting them on your list and preparing yourself to reach out to them. The blessings are far greater than the pain. Study these verses, and write about the blessings of becoming willing to make amends.

“The nearer we get to our heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. . . . If you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another” (Joseph Smith, inHistory of the Church, 5:24).

  • Without Jesus Christ, we are all perishing, imperfect souls. How does it help you to know that in taking step 8 you are one perishing soul preparing to make amends to another perishing soul?

FORGIVING AND ASKING FORGIVENESS

“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21–22).

  • Forgiving and asking forgiveness for a single wrongdoing is easier than forgiving or asking forgiveness for longstanding situations filled with multiple offenses. Think about relationships, past or present, where multiple offenses have occurred and will need to be forgiven. How can you gain strength to forgive and seek forgiveness?

  • How is Jesus Christ the greatest example of the ability to forgive? Consider His willingness to help you forgive others.

“I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:9–10).

  • Jesus taught that to fail to forgive others is a greater sin than the original trespass or offense. How is refusing to forgive yourself or someone else the equivalent of denying the Savior’s Atonement for sin?

  • How do resentment and bitterness damage you physically, emotionally, and spiritually?

BREAKING THE CYCLE OF BITTERNESS AND OFFENSE

“Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand, and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what power it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 5:23–24).

  • The Prophet Joseph Smith described how kindness can lead to repentance and forgiveness. Ponder and write about your willingness to be the one who breaks the cycle of bitterness and offense.

  • Think about people who have shown kindness and love to you. How have their actions inspired or motivated you to act differently?

  • Consider the troubled relationships in your life. In what ways might they change as you reach out to other people with love and kindness?