Why Couldn’t I Forgive?
January 2023

“Why Couldn’t I Forgive?,” Liahona, Jan. 2023.

Latter-day Saint Voices

Why Couldn’t I Forgive?

I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me overcome my bad feelings and forgive.

man working in garden on temple grounds

Illustration by Allen Garns

I had joined with a few other brothers in my ward to help a sister move. But as we arrived at her apartment, a van that had been parked improperly prevented us from accessing her place with our van.

I called the phone number on the side of the van to ask that someone come and move the van. A man answered and promised he would come soon.

After 15 minutes, I called again, but he didn’t answer. Finally, after one more call, he appeared with two children. He was angry and said something that got under my skin. I tried to forget about it as we proceeded with the move.

That evening I thought about the experience. I prayed that Heavenly Father would help me forget my feelings and forgive the man. He answered my prayer.

A little while later, however, I was reading a local newspaper and noticed an article about this man. It included his picture. My negative feelings toward him returned. So, I again went through the same process. I asked the Lord that this insignificant matter not bother me any longer and that He help me forgive the man. A good feeling came.

It wasn’t long before I happened to meet this same man in a store. My bad feelings returned yet again. I was amazed. I asked the Lord why I wasn’t able to get over this experience. A few days later, He taught me a lesson.

I was pulling away from the grounds of the Helsinki Finland Temple when I noticed this same man working in the temple gardens. I couldn’t believe my eyes. My mind opened and I understood that he, like me, was serving the Lord and that he, like me, has frustrating days when things don’t work out. I was then able to see this man as my brother. With new eyes, I felt respect and love toward him. After that, all the earlier feelings left, never to return.

When we see others as the Lord sees us, we can follow His commandment to forgive completely (see Matthew 6:14–15; Doctrine and Covenants 64:9–10). This experience was a memorable, tender mercy of the Lord, which I still ponder in my heart.