Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

I Will Surely Show Thee Kindness

2 Samuel 8:8 - 2 Samuel 13:28

 

Recently I stumbled upon a poem I have come to love…

 

Forgiveness Flour

When I went to the door, at the whisper of knocking,

I saw Simeon Gantner’s daughter, Kathleen, standing

There, in her shawl and her shame, sent to ask

“Forgiveness Flour” for her bread. “Forgiveness Flour,”

We call it in our corner. If one has erred, one

Is sent to ask for flour of his neighbors. If they loan it

To him, that means he can stay, but if they refuse, he had

Best take himself off. I looked at Kathleen . . .

What a jewel of a daughter, though not much like her

Father, more’s the pity. “I’ll give you flour,” I

Said, and went to measure it. Measuring was the rub.

If I gave too much, neighbors would think I made sin

Easy, but if I gave too little, they would label me

“Close.” While I stood measuring, Joel, my husband

Came in from the mill, a great bag of flour on his

Shoulder, and seeing her there, shrinking in the

Doorway, he tossed the bag at her feet. “Here, take

All of it.” And so she had flour enough for many loaves,

While I stood measuring.

[Marguerite Stewart, "Forgiveness Flour,"

Religious Studies Center Newsletter 7, no. 3


(May 1993): 1]

This poem has led me to think a lot about what it means to forgive.  And what it means to forget.  My friend Hilary and I have been talking about this recently.  I asked her if she would mind posting her thoughts on the blog for today…

 

I know we barely know each other.  But can I tell you a secret?

I discovered something about myself recently...and I wasn't very proud of it.  I always thought I was a person who could forgive and forget.

The forgive part seemed easy because we all make mistakes.  I make a TON!  And I want others (especially Heavenly Father) to forgive me ––and to qualify for that forgiveness I know I have to forgive in return.

Even easier was the forget part...(mostly because I have a bad memory.)

But I realized (and here comes the top-secret secret) I haven't been forgetting lately.

I've. Been. Holding. Grudges.

Oh, yes, I pretend I've let go of them.  I act like I am letting go of my little handful of grudges, but actually I've been hanging onto a little piece here and a little piece there.  Just small pieces.  After all, what is one teensy, tiny piece of a grudge going to hurt?

Well, let me tell you:

It hurt my confidence.

It made me avoid the person I needed to fully forgive.

It led me to question my self-esteem.

It made me remember.

It made me sad.

It made it easier to collect and hang on to more grudges.

And I realized I wasn't allowing the Atonement to completely heal my heart.

In 2 Samuel chapter 9, we are reminded about letting go...

Letting go of resentment

Letting go of ill will

Of the chips on our shoulders

Of grudges

David reminds us of this important principle.  He could have been bitter towards Saul.  There was a justifiable grudge there. Think of everything Saul had tried to do to him.  But once David was on the throne and in position to exact some revenge—instead he sought to heal old wounds.

His desire was to be kind to any of the house of Saul.

The only person left was Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathon, So David took him in and treated him as a son of his own--fulfilling his promise to Jonathan made years before.  “And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually.”  (2 Samuel 9:7) He restored to him the lands of Saul.  He brought him to his own table to dine.  David’s servants became Mephiboseth’s servants.  All that David had he shared with the descendant of Saul.

It is a powerful lesson on forgiving and forgetting.

The way we treat others - including those whom we consider our enemies (or that we hold little teeny-weeny grudges against) - is a sign of our commitment to our covenants. It is a sign of our commitment to the Lord.  A Lord who redeems.  A Lord who never holds grudges.

About a month ago, I decided to really, really, REALLY let go.  I prayed for love to replace resentment.  I prayed for charity.

And do you want to know a happy secret?

The Lord has been granting it--a little at a time.

It hasn't come all at once.  But it has come.

And He has been giving me opportunities to practice.

Opportunities to practice with the very ones I needed to fully forgive.

The results you ask?

Well, let me tell you.

I feel free.

I feel happy.

I am not afraid.

I feel more peace.

I don't feel resentment.

I smile, wave, and talk with genuine charity in my heart.

I trust again.

I have a deeper love for the Savior and His Atonement

...and I have a desire for charity to continue to grow in my heart.

 

I am grateful for the reminder taught by a gracious king in the book of Samuel that one grudge is one too many.

I want to learn from this king.

A king who doesn’t hold grudges.

A king, who once again, resembles the King.

 

(Posted by Hilary Weeks)

Emily Freeman