“We had lost our home, I recently had a miscarriage, and we had five little kids to take care of. We had lost everything while her and her family built a mansion,” said Jody Larson, a new resident of Laie who described how a business partner from her ward took advantage of her family by failing to fulfill financial promises.
“I was mad. I was literally becoming engulfed in anger to the point that I was spiritually hurting myself. I was angry, and I wanted everyone else to be angry too.”
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things for people to do because of the deep pains and suffering people feel, according to David Whippy, special instructor of peacebuilding. “When we are in conflict we are fragmented, and fragments of ourselves pull us in different directions. Forgiveness is the key that allows us to bring all these parts together, be whole, and feel peace.”
In regards to her business partner, Larson said, “I remember seeing one of my friends talking to her. It made me so angry. I remember thinking, ‘How could she? She’s my friend and knows what she did to me.’ That’s when it hit me, and I recognized how entrenched in bitterness and anger I had become.”
Not only does it hurt when people hold on to something like a grudge, but also it hurts everyone around them, said Whippy.
Alysha Gurr, a senior in social work from Canada, explained how people can't change what has happened to them or what other people have done to them, but individuals can change themselves and their attitudes and beliefs towards others. She said forgiveness allows people to change.
Gurr said, “If you choose to believe that somebody has hurt you, then you’re going to be consistently angry all the time, and that doesn't serve you or anybody else.”
Larson explained her experience of developing forgiveness when she said, “I learned to pray for a forgiving heart. It took months of praying every single day, asking for a forgiving heart. At first I didn’t notice a change, but finally I was able to find peace.”
According to Whippy, forgiveness is a process and that doesn’t come easy, and it can take a lifetime. Individuals have to have patience with others and themselves, he added.
Gurr said for her, forgiveness is a freeing and liberating process because people are recognizing the humanity in other people, allowing them to recognize nobody is perfect.
Richie Norton, a BYUH alumni and entrepreneur, said, “The important thing is to love God unconditionally, because he loved us unconditionally first. Then put your faith in him 100 percent, fear God and not man, and go to work on making things right by leveraging the power of the atonement to step into your highest purpose as a child of God.”
Larson concluded how through the power of the atonement and the sacrifice of Christ, she was given the ability to forgive her former business partner.