At Christmas, we reflect on the birth of the Savior. At Easter, we reflect on His death. This reflection is not out of sadness. It is out of awe, reverence, and gratitude. He suffered and died for us. He suffered and died for you. He suffered and died for me.
"...but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
His death could have ended in sadness if not for His overcoming of the world. He overcame. He broke the bands of death and came back, a resurrected being. If there is anyone to look to as our perfect example, it is Him.
He is the Prince of Peace.
The world could use some peace at the moment. What better way to add peace to our lives then to look to Him, His example, and find ways to emulate Him?
One of His greatest examples is that of forgiveness. The scriptures are full of stories of Him forgiving others, even the very men who hung Him on the cross and mocked Him.
As a mother, something I have grown to love is the love Jesus had for the children.
"...Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18: 3-4
If the Savior of the world says I should be like a child, then I need to pay attention to children and see what qualities they have that I need to take on myself! What a gift that we adults are able to have children in our lives to learn from.
Children have a lot to teach us if we will take the time to learn from them. Children are human, and have their faults, but they exemplify so easily so much of what the Savior taught through His words and through His actions. I have been able to learn much as I have been a mother. Children teach me every day.
Someone in my life who is such a great example to me of the principle of forgiveness is my daughter McKenna. McKenna is probably the most optimistic person I have ever met, and I believe a big reason for that is that she is so forgiving. It is easy to look at the world and see only goodness and hope when you forgive the wrongs that come your way. Her heart is full of happiness and she sees the good because she has truly forgiven the bad. She lets forgiveness take her disappointments, failures, and injustices and washes those from her life. What is left is the good. Her life is full of joy because she lets forgiveness take the rest.
As a parent, this quality in my child is of course amazing! This sweet girl doesn't remember my mistakes and wrongs. She sees me with a heart of forgiveness. It doesn't come without its challenges; I have shared that she can be hard for me to discipline as a parent because she always looks to the bright side of a situation. It is hard to find her currency when she always shrugs things off and looks at the bright side. Despite that difficulty that has come with this quality, I have never wanted to break that forgiving heart and optimistic nature. I have worked around it without trying to change her. I want her to hold on to those qualities through her life. I have great hope she will maintain these characteristics through her entire life.
When Brinley was almost six months old, McKenna, then about 3.5 years old, was hugging Brinley, As babies around that age are known to do, Brinley grabbed at McKenna, scratching her face. She ended up coming away with a fist full of McKenna's hair. McKenna reacted with an exclamation of "Ow!" That was the first time McKenna found Brinley's grabbing and scratching painful. She then laughed and said, "Oh well. At least hair grows back!"
I love that simple story because it so perfectly illustrates how forgiving McKenna is. Brinley didn't ask for any sort of forgiveness as a 6 month old. I didn't have to explain to McKenna that babies don't mean to hurt you. I didn't have to console her. The incident hurt her, but she immediately looked to the bright side, hair grows back, and went on with her day. She didn't stop going in for hugs with Brinley and never lectured Brinley to not pull her hair out. She turned the other cheek and continued playing with Brinley as she always had.
I have found children in general are very easy and quick to forgive. We can learn a lot from their example. I am grateful for sweet McKenna and her demonstration of what forgiveness is and to be able to witness what joy forgiveness brings to her life. We are commanded to forgive for our own selves as much as for the benefit of the offender. We may feel we are doing the other person a great act of kindness, but we also do ourselves a great act of kindness when we forgive.
Forgiveness brings joy, freedom, and happiness. It allows us to live life without hesitation or reservation. We can bring so much relief to our lives when we employ the principle of forgiveness in our own lives. Look to your children and the forgiving nature and learn from them. Look to the example of the Savior, the #PrinceofPeace , and forgive those who have offended you. Having a forgiving heart brings you closer to the Savior. Forgive and find joy.
You can find more about the principles Jesus exemplified as the Prince of Peace at Mormon.org and learn how these principles can bring you closer to the Savior. Watch for the #PrinceofPeace campaign and participate April 9-16.