In my Sunday School class, my amazing kids are constantly testing me. But only because I ask em' to. Every week we give them slips of paper, and tell them to write questions they have about the month's topic, or about anything in the gospel. February's subject is "The Plan of Salvation" and January's topic has been "The Godhead." Every question I get is wonderful. They make me study harder, and the practice of asking questions and finding answers is hopefully being instilled in their hearts. As it is in mine.
But this question, it hit me like a spiritual arrow soft, but nonetheless intense and straight into my chest. It was one of those moments where the tears began to well up whether I wanted them to or not.
The question that was given to me, is the title of this post. "Why does the Father forgive so much?"
I know without a shadow of a doubt that when we are called in positions in the church our Heavenly Father helps us feel the love He has for the individuals in our classes, quorums, groups, etc. And when I read this question it was like an immediate rush of love came in to my soul. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of every individual in my class---and my senses were heightened all of a sudden to make me see that.
I don't know who wrote the question. I have no idea what struggles many of my students face. I know they struggle with similar things that I struggled with in high school...but, I don't know enough about the rest of their lives to understand what they're going through. So I don't know if this question came from a need of understanding that the Father will forgive this individual, or if it was because they wondered why people who do horrible things can still be forgiven.
Here's my answer to the question:
I don't know why our Father in Heaven forgives so much. It boggles my mind, while at the same time warming my heart. I don't know that there's a limit to how much he will forgive---I really don't think there is one. I know that our understanding of love and forgiveness IS limited. We are still learning how to love, and how to forgive. I know that some of our brothers and sisters do some pretty terrible things in this life and I don't understand why. I am thankful that I don't have to understand how to judge them on Judgement Day. I'm thankful that that job is up to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I know that our Father in Heaven knows us in and out, past, present, and future. He knows our spirits because he created us. We are His children.
Sometimes I think I know Camry so well because she began life inside of me, and the first 9 months we were inseparable :)haha. And then she came to this earth and it was a feeling of-- "I know you. I've known you for a while now, and yet we're just meeting each other, but I'm here to take care of you, I promise." But when I ponder being a partner with Heavenly Father in bringing His children to the earth I realize that He knew her those 9 months too, He knew her long before I did. He will continue to know her better than I ever can. That knowledge is strange, but so fulfilling and safe. I trust His arms more than I trust my own. I know He is a better parent than me, and although I'm here to love and guide her--part of my purpose is to teach her how to build a relationship with her Father in Heaven.
Because He knows each of us soooo well, I know he has the ability to forgive and know when our hearts are pure. He knows when we truly repent. He knows when we seek His forgiveness with all the sincerity of our souls. He knows when we need Him. And I KNOW that he will never leave us empty. He may not send down a choir of angels, but I guarantee He will send peace. That's one of the jobs of the Holy Ghost, to comfort us and give us peace when we think we are not worth it. And Christ is the mediator in and through it all. We are to gain a relationship with Him just as we do the Father.
Why does the Father forgive so much? I don't know, but I know He sure loves us and wants us to have all that He has. Why did the Savior hang on the cross? Why did he rise again triumphant from the tomb? Why do we seek forgiveness? Because we are not perfect. But there was a Plan set forth long before we came here that made it so that imperfect people can become perfect. Part of the plan was to come to earth, receive bodies, be imperfect, and require the Savior's Atonement to make it back to be with the Father who loved us enough to make a straight path for us. Another part, the Savior's Atonement, made it possible for us to become at one with our Father, clean and whole.
Alls I knows is....I'm thankful He forgives so much. I need it. I need His love and forgiveness probably more than I need air to breathe. It's that important. The beyond shocking part is that I don't always seek it out. I ought to be slapped in the face for that. But that's part of my journey. Learning to seek out what truly nourishes my soul. And I know that our Father's love, and His endless forgiveness, is more nourishing and more filling than any food or water. I know the Savior's love is perfect. He is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). I would be lost without all three members of the Godhead. I would not know the purpose of my life if not for the Plan of Salvation. I would be forever scarred and lonely if it were not for the Savior's Atonement to strengthen, lift, and heal me. I would be hopeless, if I did not know, that my Father in Heaven can, and will, forgive so much.