“Questions & Answers: My parents were married in the temple, but now they’re divorced. I’m angry that they have broken up our family. How do I forgive them?” New Era, August 2015, 42–43
Divorce is sad and difficult for all members of the family. Feelings of anger, loss, and hurt are normal. However, dwelling on negative feelings keeps you from peace and healing. Pray to Heavenly Father to help you get rid of harmful feelings and to understand your parents. Realize that they are also hurting.
Remember that Jesus Christ—who suffered for all of our sorrows and sins—is willing to forgive each of us. We too should forgive others. (See the parable of the debtors in Matthew 18:23–35.) Your parents will be grateful for your selfless gift of forgiveness. As you and your family members let go of anger and blame, your whole family will be strengthened and better able to adjust. Those who forgive “rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being” (James E. Faust, “The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 2007, 68).
In this difficult time, it’s important to continue to build your family relationships, especially with your parents. In the years to come, you can rely on and cherish those relationships. Don’t let angry feelings prevent these important relationships from growing.
Have faith in Heavenly Father’s plan for you and your family. Believe that “all these things … shall be for thy good” (D&C 122:7). Believe that He will continue to guide and bless your life. Believe that you can have a wonderful marriage one day and that God will provide for your family in this life and in the eternities.
Forgiveness is a process and takes time. Be patient with your efforts to love, forgive, and understand your parents. Look forward to the peace and happiness that come from forgiving.
When my parents divorced, it was hard on my siblings and me. It took several years for me to forgive my father. I had to study the scriptures and pray with all my heart. I even talked to a counselor. Then I prayed to understand my dad. My eyes were opened, and I understood him, and it helped me heal. I was able to forgive, and I was freed from the chains that had held me down for so long. I know that the Savior’s Atonement is real. The Lord loves us and will never leave us comfortless.
I’ve gone through this same situation, and I know it’s a tough one. It’s important to realize that although your parents may not love each other anymore, they still love you because you are their child. Also, trust in Heavenly Father. He has commanded us to forgive everyone. He knows you and has a plan for you. If we continue to live worthily, I know that we can receive the promise of having an eternal family, even though our families here on earth may be a little broken.
Ashley W., 17, Texas, USA
Think about how much you love your parents. Remember all the fun you had with them before it happened. Talk with them about those times and plan activities with your mom and dad individually. Play games with them and show your love toward them.
Sierra J., 15, Idaho, USA
Try to put yourself in their shoes. It won’t be easy to forgive them if you don’t try to understand their situation. Trust that God has a plan for you and your family and that we have trials in this life so that we can learn and progress. Sometimes we can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our attitude. Although it might be difficult, try to always look for the good in your parents and think about how you can help.
Elder Caten, 20, Argentina Córdoba Mission
I was able to get through my parents’ divorce and forgive them with help from the people around me. My friends, leaders, siblings, and family members helped me through everything. I was able to go on with my life with support from everyone.
Geena C., 18, New Mexico, USA
Feeling bitter is harmful and goes against the teachings of the Church. Pray to Heavenly Father, fast, and read the scriptures to look for answers. If you hold on to bitterness, you will be allowing Satan to enter and destroy your family because he knows how important families are in our Heavenly Father’s plan.
Carol M., 14, Honduras
First, none of us is perfect, except for our Lord Jesus Christ. I would try to see the situation through your parents’ eyes. Choose a good time and go talk to them. Don’t criticize your parents for what they did. Second, many people turn bitter during trials like these, so try to have the Holy Spirit with you. Do your personal scripture study and say your daily prayers.
Ashley P., 15, Utah, USA