“Forgiving Laurie,” Friend, Nov. 2000, 39
I stared at the note on my desk. For a long time I tried to ignore it. But finally I unfolded it and read:
Nicole, I am soooo sorry! Please forgive me.
Your friend 4ever,
I crumpled up the note—loudly, so that Laurie would get my point. Then I threw it in the wastebasket and glanced over at her. She looked as though she was going to cry.
When the bell rang, I headed out the door as quickly as possible. I could hear her calling to me, but I just kept walking. When I got to the gate of the school, I finally turned around. “Stop following me,” I told her. “I’m not going to forgive you, Laurie—not ever.”
“You told lies about me!” I yelled. “I was nice to you. I was your friend. And what did you do? You told lies about me!”
Laurie’s eyes were full of tears. “Nicole, please, I’m so sorry.”
I just gritted my teeth. “I hope it’s worth it to you—being friends with Sharon and Beth.”
“They’re not my friends.”
“Then you really blew it, didn’t you?” With that said, I stormed away.
When I got home, I was still so angry with Laurie that my stomach was in knots. Around five o’clock, my best friend, Audrey, called. “Laurie just left here,” she said. “She wanted me to talk to you and ask you to forgive her.”
“She walked all the way to your house?”
“Yes, I guess so.” Audrey sighed. “Anyway, she wanted me to tell you why she lied. She went over to Beth’s house after dance class, and Sharon was there, and …”
Audrey continued talking, but I hardly listened. I didn’t care why Laurie lied. All that mattered to me was that she did.
“Anyway,” Audrey said when she’d finished her story, “Laurie feels really bad. She wants you to forgive her.”
“I’m not going to—not ever.”
The next day, Megan talked about uninviting Laurie to her party. “The only reason I even invited her was because you told me to.”
“Or she could come,” Kim put in, a mischievous grin on her face, “and when she’s not looking, we can squirt ketchup down her back, and …” Kim continued, suggesting all sorts of mean things we could do.
Everyone seemed to think it was a great plan. Everyone but Audrey and me. I glanced over at her, and she gave me a grim look. Audrey is really nice. She’s not into doing mean things—that’s one reason she’s my best friend.
“Maybe this isn’t such a good idea,” I told them.
“What do you mean?” Kim asked. “We’re doing this for you. Laurie told lies about you.”
“I know. And I’m mad at her, but—”
The bell rang and we went back to class.
For the rest of the week, my friends came up with meaner and meaner things to do to Laurie. I felt sick. I couldn’t forgive Laurie, but I couldn’t do horrible things to her, either. I didn’t know what to do.
On Sunday, I didn’t want to go to church. I had to give a talk in Primary on forgiveness. The week before, when Sister Sharp assigned me the talk, forgiveness had seemed like a good topic. People do things wrong sometimes, and it’s important to forgive them. When we do things wrong, we want Heavenly Father to forgive us. We should do the same for others.
Well, all of that seemed great last Sunday when I wrote the talk—but that was before I knew about Laurie’s lies.
Still, no matter how hard I begged, my mom wouldn’t let me stay home. “Sister Sharp is counting on you to give your talk.”
So I went to Primary and gave my talk. But I felt like a big fake. There I was, talking about how Jesus forgave everyone, even the people who nailed Him to the cross. And I couldn’t forgive Laurie. I felt awful.
Sunday night, I finally knew that I had to forgive her. But knowing you should do something and actually doing it are two different things. I didn’t like feeling upset and angry, yet how could I forgive Laurie for betraying me? I couldn’t even pray anymore because of the guilt I was feeling.
I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. I’d dreamed that Laurie came to Megan’s party and we were all really mean to her. Somehow—I’m not sure how we did it—we knocked out all of her teeth. Laurie was crying and looking at me with no teeth. “Will you forgive me now?” she asked.
I couldn’t go back to sleep. Finally I threw off my covers and knelt at the side of my bed. “Heavenly Father,” I cried, “Please help me forgive Laurie.”
I explained to Him why it was so hard for me to forgive her. “I was nice to Laurie. She was new in our class, and no one else would talk to her. But I went out of my way to be her friend, and I had my friends be friends with her, too. And then she told lies about me.”
I told Heavenly Father what Audrey had told me on the phone the other day, that two of our classmates, Beth and Sharon, had made her feel stupid. Laurie had told them the lies so that they would not be mean to her anymore.
“What she did was wrong,” I told Heavenly Father, “but—”
Suddenly I didn’t feel angry anymore. I mostly felt sorry for Laurie—sorry that she’d felt that she needed to lie. It’s hard to go to a new school and have to make new friends, especially when some are being unfriendly.
So I forgave Laurie. But talking my friends into forgiving her wasn’t easy. After talking with Audrey, I told them, “If you’re still planning on doing mean things to Laurie, then Audrey and I won’t come to your party. We’ll have our own party and invite Laurie.”
“Nicole, calm down,” Kim said with a laugh. “If you think she’s worth another chance, we’ll give her one.”
“She’s worth it,” I told them. “Everyone is worth it.” Jesus Christ taught me that.