Thursday, October 1, 2015

Healing Relationships

by Kari Diane Pike

What would I do without the Lord's tender mercies? I would be utterly and completely lost. About a month ago I wrote about the blessing of being called to teach early morning seminary and how the Lord always knows exactly what I need. That blessing continues to expand.

The account of Jacob and Esau taught me to pray hard and work hard to repair relationships and to show love, respect, humility, courtesy, forgiveness and acceptance as I try to solve problems the Lord's way. Revenge, anger grudges, hatred, and lust can only result in regret and heartache. I love the way Jacob and Esau show us how resolution and repair to their relationship took effort on both sides. Both men acted with humility, courtesy, love and respect. Jacob prayed hard and did everything he could think of to make amends with Esau. 
"And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept." (Genesis 33:4)
I always ask the students, "What do 4000-year-old stories have to do with living in the 21st century? How can they apply to you today?" In this case, I asked them to think about their own relationships with family members and friends. Is there someone whom they need to forgive? Of course, this applies to my life as well. While I prepared the lessons I had thoughts come to me that perhaps I still harbored bad feelings toward a couple of people and that I needed to completely forgive them...and myself.

When I peeled back the layers of time covering that memory I was surprised by the depth of the wound and the pain that still remained. I truly thought I had forgiven those past offenses. Fortunately, my earlier efforts of prayer and fasting had not been in vain. While the wound hadn't healed, it was at least free of infection. There existed no hate or malice. But neither was there gratitude or love. I replayed the offense over and over again in my head. In just a few short minutes, resentment started to bubble in the wound. It would be so easy to let it fester. After all, what they did was wrong. Right?

That's when the Spirit whispered, "Pray. Pray as hard as you've ever prayed. Ask for strength to let it go. Ask for the ability to forgive and to be kind. Ask for love to fill the empty space. You can't heal this on your own. Have faith. Believe Christ. Trust in His Atonement. Ask Him to heal your broken heart. It's time to heal that wound completely, once and for all."

I began to pray right there and then - standing in the kitchen - and begged Heavenly Father to please help me let go and forgive. To please take away my resentment and blame placing. I couldn't heal the wound myself. I begged for the power of the Atonement and the Savior's healing grace to heal the wound for me.

Within moments, the most wonderful feeling washed over me. Memories of the people we've met, the places we've seen and the lessons we've learned came flooding back. My mind opened up to an entirely new perspective. Gratitude filled that wound and spilled out and washed over my heart. If I had never experienced that challenge, I would have missed out on amazing new friendships and life events. The Lord placed those individuals in my life to help my testimony grow stronger and to help me gain wisdom. I wouldn't trade any of the blessings that have ensued as a result of the very actions that created my wound. The only thing I would change, given the chance at a re-do, would be my attitude and the energy I wasted being angry and frightened and resentful. I would trust and love more. But that's okay. I can do that starting right now.

An even bigger challenge stares us down right now. I don't know what the outcome is going to be exactly. But I do know this: It is going to be magnificent because if I am faithful, God can direct my life and help me make trials become blessings for myself and others. Challenges make me stronger and peace always follows turmoil because of what the Savior did for me.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this experience. It touched me.

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  2. Kari,Thank you for this beautiful posting! I published my memoir in January. Life Soup - A Memoir - Testifying of the Healing Power of Jesus Christ tells of my own struggle with forgiveness. This past month my husband and I took a road trip to Michigan and I was able to visit my father and mother's graves. When my father passed away I was in Finland serving a mission with my husband and did not attend the funeral. I cannot express the amazing feelings I felt during my visit. I forgave my father before he passed, but received no acknowledgement from him. While at his grave, I felt such peace and compassion for my father that I cannot explain its depth. I also felt such sadness for him and hope that he was able to make wiser choices where he is now. I had no feelings of anger, hate, pain or disgust. I was truly surprised and blessed through the atonement. Writing my memoir has made this deep sense of peace and forgiveness possible. Anyway, I'm sorry, I didn't intend to write another book here. I wanted to say thank you for your beautiful perspective.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your sweet experience and for you kind words!

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  3. I have had several of those experience Kari, but the one that stands out to this day is my mom. She and I are such different personalities. And I while I knew she loved me on some level, I could not understand her (well I still don't really). One day I had had a very upsetting situation develop and my mom took me out to buy me a dress. Now mind you in that place in my life a new dress was completely unnecessary. As I was trying one on, I looked in the mirror and the Spirit whispered to me, This is her way of loving you, accept it." I did then but I still have to remember this is her way. The process of forgiving is a lesson I remember with her. I'm glad she's still with me so I can remind myself to let her love me the way she loves.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that Terri. Now I am crying. and I needed that release. I really appreciate your comments, btw...It always amazing me how much in common we have in our life experiences. I appreciate your example! hugs~

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