Father forgive them

By Anita Stephens

I read an article this week that really has had a profound effect on me. It was entitled the Saviors last lecture and it can be found here http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/13506

The author discusses how the savior taught us about forgiveness .Hanging on the cross between two thieves, our Savior spoke in reference to his crucifiers, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

There are many things the Savior could have said in reference to his crucifiers. He could have said, “Father forgive them, for they will pay a price how great they know not.” He could have said, “Father, forgive them, for wrong hast been done unto them.” He could have said simply, “Father, forgive them.” However, in adding the explanation, “for they know not what they do,” The Savior taught us the secret to forgiveness.
She goes on to explain that many times people do not realize the hurt or pain that they cause by their actions. Most people are not trying to ruin our lives or inflict great pain.
If we can operate on that assumption, we can more easily let go of the pain.
I heard a quote one time that when we refuse to forgive, it is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. The anger and pain can destroy us.
As I thought about circumstances in my life where someone  has caused me great pain, I can try and look at that from the standpoint that they may not even realize how badly that hurt.
Now in the case of our son being Gay, we have had a few instances that are VERY painful, as I know some other families have experienced as well. A few people I know have had truly terrible and unchristlike things said about them  or their family member.
Did they really mean to hurt them or us?
Not having walked in our shoes, do they really know what it is like?
I think for the most part they probably don’t.
Does this make it all go away? Of course not, but I think maybe this can help some of us find a path to forgiveness for those who just don’t understand our journey.
For those who are on the outside watching maybe they can try and get to know our Gay family and Friends. They could try and get to know us and how we feel . Maybe it will give them pause to stop and pray to our Heavenly Father who created us and ask to have more compassion and empathy, … or at least less judgement.
As a mother we want to protect our children. We know they aren’t perfect, but we love them fiercely and we want the best for them. Wouldn’t you parents agree?
Imagine having that child now not invited to family functions, or having other family members kept away from them so they don’t “rub off on them” . Being told they will “never be happy if they CHOOSE to live like that”  They would be ” better off dead”.
To have a church that you have grown up in and loved for your whole life, suddenly have no place for you. Being told that “God does not make Gay people.” HMMMM so where did I come from then?
To be bullied and made fun of. To have people constantly talk behind your back. To face the prospect of living a life alone never having a close relationship with someone, never having children. In some states even being fired from your job just because you are gay.
Can you even try and imagine?
I am not sure why Heavenly Father gave us this path , but I know that I can take my guidance from him and my Savior. I can bear anothers burdens. I can mourn with those that mourn,  I can Love unconditionally.
None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes and I think for the most part we are all doing our best. As much as I want to have that forgiveness available for me and my family, I know it is there for all who ask.
My job is to learn to better forgive, even when they  don’t even seem to care.My husband and I are Native Las Vegans and we are the proud parents of 6 kids One daughter in law and have had the privilege of Fostering 41 other children who all carry a little piece of our heart. Even though we are busy and don’t get much time together, we love spending time together as a family. Someday my husband hopes to be able to compete in off road racing again.
(also published at Anita’s blog at http://ourfamilyunexpectedjourney.blogspot.com/2013/11/father-forgive-them.html)