“Sowing Seeds of Peace,” Ensign, Apr. 2012, 62–63
For a long time, my younger brother has been one of my heroes. I will always remember him as a great example of humility, honesty, kindness, faith, diligence, and overall righteousness. He was well educated in both secular and religious matters. He had a good career and was engaged to be married in the temple. It came as a shock to me when I found out he had been murdered.
When I heard the news, I began the horrible emotional roller coaster ride of trying to cope with the loss. It didn’t take long to realize that the pain wouldn’t go away until I learned how to let it go. During times of prayer and quiet contemplation, I learned some lessons that made the healing possible.
Alma teaches us that faith is like a seed that can be planted in our hearts (see Alma 32:28–43). If we nurture the seed and let it grow, it will produce good fruit. The fruit is what shows us that the seed was good. This analogy suggests to me that if there are good seeds, there are also bad ones. We have to identify these bad seeds and seek guidance in knowing how to keep them from taking root and growing in our heart.
When I found out about my brother’s death and the violent, selfish act that caused it, my heart was littered with bad seeds. I tried to keep them under control, to “cast them out” as the scriptures say, but I just couldn’t pull them out fast enough. Little sprouts of anger and frustration kept popping up at an amazing rate. A few of them grew to be quite large; these brought hostility into my heart and destructive thoughts into my mind. I knew that if these hateful weeds were to grow out of control, they could smother the good plants in my heart, such as peace, gratitude, love, and kindness—feelings I cherish and need in my life.
I found that the solution for a weed-ridden heart is to employ the Master Gardener, the Savior Jesus Christ. He has the power to heal any heart. He requires only one thing: we must offer our hearts fully to Him and let Him work in His own way.
His way, it turns out, requires us to forgive those who have hurt us. They don’t need our forgiveness to be redeemed—they need the Lord’s forgiveness; but still we are required to forgive them. I’ve learned that the reason we forgive people is not for their sakes—it’s for ours. When we forgive, we are liberated from bondage and relieved of a heavy burden.
It has helped me in my struggle for peace to remember that when the Lord paid the price for our sins, He didn’t suffer just for the sinners. He also suffered for those who are harmed by the sins of others. Those who are in pain can find relief. Those who are sad can find joy. Those who are upset can find peace. And those who die can find eternal life.
I know that this life has periods of suffering, but I also know that suffering need not consume us. With time and effort, we can let go of our pain and once again see the goodness that life has to offer. I know that no matter how difficult forgiveness may seem (and it indeed can feel like an almost impossible task), doors will open, and strength and guidance will be given to us as we seek to follow God’s will and allow Him into our hearts.
We don’t have to travel the road of forgiveness alone. The Lord is ready to help us. By submitting to His will, we can feel the heavenly peace that comes from forgiving.