On forgiveness

„My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another, and forgave not one another in their hearts, and for this evil they were afflicted, and sorely chastened; wherefore I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another, for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses, standeth condemned before the Lord, for there remaineth in him the greater sin.  I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men; and ye ought to say in your hearts, Let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.  And he that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, then ye shall bring him before the church, and do with him as the Scriptures saith unto you, either by commandment, or by revelation.” —RD&C 64:2c–f.

I understand the commandment to forgive all men somewhat more specifically than some seem to.

Christ atoned for our sins.  Sins can be against our fellows, not only against God (Christian thought tends to overemphasise the latter for some reason).  For the atonement to have full effect, we need to be reconciled, not only with God, but with those we have wronged.  For this to be possible, we need to be free from vendetta—if Christ tells us to be reconciled to someöne, we need to be able to implement this; otherwise, Christ cannot justly expect others to be reconciled to us, however our merit may lie.  Thus, the atonement cannot take full effect.

We are not required to trust everyöne necessarily.  To be willing to forgive someöne does not, to me, imply fully trusting them again against one’s better discernment, except insofar as it implies submission to Christ’s judgement on this front, e.g. at the last day.  It does imply defusing, rather than propogating, destructive feuds.  It does imply preferring reformative justice, seeing no value in temporal punitive justice.

Being a commandment does not make forgiveness any less of a personal choice.  It is not something that can, or ought to, be enforced by a community.  To forgive someöne because you were made to do so is not true forgiveness, but abuse.  Forgiveness is praiseworthy, but it is a personal decision; people have a God-given power and right to choose and let the consequence follow.  Contrary to the positions of some, it is not healthy for a community to police one another’s moral standing.

Indeed, noöne besides Jesus can, fairly, require someöne to be reconciled to another, due to not having been through what that person has been put through.  And even Jesus can only do so justly because he has been:

„Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” —Isaiah 53:4–5

„And he shall go forth, suffering pains, and afflictions, and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith, He will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people; and he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people: and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.” —Alma 5:20–22 (RLDS versification)

So, the spirit of forgiveness is not:

The spirit of forgiveness is: