Photo by Sheena Jibson.
Today I am amazed by the power of charity, the pure love of Christ.
Recently someone asked a favor of me. Someone who had slighted me in the past, who I had felt rejected by in a time when I was vulnerable. They weren't trying to hurt me, but I just didn't quite fit into their social group at the time. And I had been hurt.
Naturally, my first response was not the most pleasant. I wanted to be punishing. Weren't they just using me? Why should I help them?
But then I remembered my Savior. Surely this is not how He would have me respond. And I had pledged to follow Him with all my heart and soul.
I realized that even if I couldn't find love in my heart for this person, the Savior could. He had died so this person could repent and progress. If I tried to prevent that by holding my grudges, I would be mocking His great atoning sacrifice. I certainly did not want to do that.
I realized that this was an opportunity for me to show this person the love that Christ has for them. Even in my weakness, I could reflect the love that Jesus had for them. I decided that I would grant this favor because it was an opportunity to testify of Christ.
And the most amazing thing happened.
As we sat and talked, my heart was healed. I forgot about my pain. The Lord helped me to understand the situation that had hurt me and to realize that it wasn't personal. He softened my heart and helped me to forgive this person.
And that's not all. God transformed our relationship. We talked openly about our joys and struggles. We understood and uplifted one another. We rejoiced together. I felt our friendship shift into something more mature, more selfless, more eternal. I know now that I will be able to stay friends with this person throughout my life, that we will be able to support one another through the challenges that life holds. Christ healed my old wounds and transformed this relationship to what He had wanted it to be all along.
Today my heart is brimming with love for everyone - and the more I share that love, the more it grows. It's a magnificent cycle.
I am so grateful for a Savior who has the power to transform me. I am grateful for the gospel, which reminds me that there is a better way to be. I am grateful for the healing power of the Atonement. I am grateful that Jesus never gives up on me, even when I am so stubborn. I am grateful that He has shown me the indescribable beauty of His love and what happens when I allow it to transform my soul.
I can't wait to see how else He will transform me.
Sure on this shining night
Of star-made shadows round
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground
The late year lies down the North
All is healed, all is health
High summer holds the earth
Hearts all whole
Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
Wandr'ing far alone
Of shadows on the stars.
- James Agee