Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Elder Gerrit W. Gong on forgiveness and the Holy Ghost

Elder Gerrit W. Gong (born December 23, 1953) was called as a Seventy in April 2010, then to the Presidency of the Seventy in October 2015. He was sustained to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in April 2018.
"Trust God and His miracles. We and our relationships can change. Through the Atonement of Christ the Lord, we can put off our selfish natural self and become a child of God, meek, humble, full of faith and appropriate trust. When we repent, when we confess and forsake our sins, the Lord says He remembers them no more. (See D&C 58:42-43.) It is not that He forgets; rather, in a remarkable way, it seems He chooses not to remember them, nor need we.

"Trust God’s inspiration to discern wisely. We can forgive others in the right time and way, as the Lord says we must, while being 'wise as serpents, and harmless as doves' (Matt 10:16).

"Sometimes when our hearts are most broken and contrite, we are most open to the comfort and guidance of the Holy Ghost. Condemnation and forgiveness both begin by recognizing a wrong. Often condemnation focuses on the past. Forgiveness looks liberatingly to the future. 'For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved' (John 3:17).

"The Apostle Paul asks, 'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?' He answers, 'Neither death, nor life, … nor height, nor depth … shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' (Rom 8:35, 38-39.) Yet, there is someone who can separate us from God and Jesus Christ—and that someone is us, ourselves. As Isaiah says, 'Your sins have hid his face from you' (Isa 59:2)."

- Gerrit W. Gong, "Trust Again," General Conference October 2021, Sunday afternoon
Click here to read or watch the full talk

Knowing when and how to forgive is not always easy. Elder Gong encouraged us to open our hearts and mind to the Spirit; the Holy Ghost can often speak to us and touch us more powerfully when we are in the greatest need. But we must remember the blessing that forgiveness can bring:

We only hold on to the past when we are caught in condemnation of another. Power comes as we look to the future with forgiveness. I've seen people struggle under the burden of inability to forgive; it can be soul-destroying. Liberation comes as we trust in God to be the ultimate judge.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)

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