Forgiving others—forgiving ourselves
March 1971

“Forgiving others—forgiving ourselves,” New Era, Mar. 1971, 50

Forgiving others—forgiving ourselves

“The Spoken Word” from Temple Square, presented over KSL and the Columbia Broadcasting System, January 3, 1971. © 1971 by Richard L. Evans

“A person’s ability to forgive is in proportion to the greatness of his soul. Little men cannot forgive.”1 “Tell them,” said a beloved associate, “tell them to learn to forgive.”2 One thing to remember—in marriage, in the family, in all relationships of life—we are always dealing with imperfect people, including ourselves. And it isn’t fair to expect perfection in others when we can’t offer it ourselves. Life moves one way. We can’t go back. But we can go forever forward: improving, repenting, understanding, forgiving others—even forgiving ourselves—not justifying our faults, not saying that the wrong we do is right, but not defeating our own future, forever unforgiving or unforgiven. Once a year—or oftener—all of us should clear out the clutter, the things that are useless to us, that get in our way and add confusion to our lives and impede our progress. But even oftener we should look at our unforgiving grudges, and not nurse them or hold to them or keep them alive. An unresolved grudge gnaws at our hearts, disturbs our peace, and is a burden we would well be rid of. God will forgive whom he will, but of us it is required to forgive. We should forgive not only for what it does for others, but as a favor to ourselves, because forgiving relieves us of a lingering uneasiness inside ourselves. Oh, what easing of our relationships with loved ones, and with others also, with a lightening of our own lives, as we learn to forgive! And what other way is there? What are the alternatives? How can we expect forgiveness if we don’t forgive? What incentive would there be to improve and to repent if there were no forgiveness?

“Teach me to feet another’s woe,

To hide the fault I see;

That mercy I to others show,

That mercy shown to me.”3

We should forgive as we wish to be forgiven.


  1. Author unknown.

  2. Elder ElRay L. Christiansen.

  3. Alexander Pope, “The Universal Prayer.”