“The Gift Only He Could Give,” Liahona, Feb. 1999, 25
The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the single most important event in the history of the world. The Atonement makes it possible for every person born into mortality to be resurrected and for those who receive the ordinances and strive to keep the covenants of the gospel to receive exaltation. President Brigham Young taught: “Christ has died for all. He has paid the full debt, whether you receive the gift or not.” Further, “all who attain to any glory whatever, in any kingdom, will do so because Jesus has purchased it by his atonement” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 38).
The Atonement not only makes resurrection and eternal life possible, but it also helps us become compassionate, patient, and forgiving—especially when faced with hardship. These gifts come to those who seek to be the Lord’s disciples.
When her husband confessed betraying her, one sister prayed for help in forgiving him and sought relief as she studied the scriptures and attended the temple. “As I look back,” she writes, “I realize that it was during those long, prayerful moments that I tapped into a life-giving source of comfort from my loving Heavenly Father. I sense that he was not standing by glaring at me for not having accomplished forgiveness yet; rather he was sorrowing with me as I wept. He loved me. … I had always viewed the Atonement as a means of making repentance work for the sinner. I had not realized that it also makes it possible for the one sinned against to receive into his or her heart the sweet peace of forgiving” (“My Journey to Forgiving,” Ensign, February 1997, 43).
As we forgive, we emulate Heavenly Father and His Son. Elder Richard G. Scott describes the divine example we should follow: “God is not a jealous being who delights in persecuting those who misstep. He is an absolutely perfect, compassionate, understanding, patient, and forgiving Father. He is willing to entreat, counsel, strengthen, lift, and fortify” (“Finding Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 1995, 75).
We all experience challenges and suffering because of our sins or the sins of others. During difficult times, we benefit from turning our thoughts to our Savior’s supreme sacrifice—the gift only He could give. A favorite hymn reminds us to remember Him:
I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love, and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.
(“I Stand All Amazed,” Hymns, number 193)
Bishop Henry B. Eyring, now of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “The Atonement working in our lives will produce in us the love and tenderness we need. … By remembering Him and His gift, which we promise to do as we take the sacrament each week, we can put a light of hope in our faces which those we love need so much to see” (“The Spark of Faith,” Ensign, November 1986, 75). We remember the Savior and His Atonement when we welcome a wayward child home, are patient with an aging parent, accept others’ differences readily, and live in hope of eternal life.