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Kirkko

Peace in this life and the world to come

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I, like everyone else, have my own weaknesses/struggles that I constantly worry will keep me from the Celestial Kingdom and my family. For me it is the inability to forgive three people. I pray, study, try to forget, go to the temple, etc. I've gone to counseling met with bishops everything I can think of, yet, when I am reminded of these people, I still get the same sick and angry feelings.

At this point, I feel like I'm losing hope because I can't not only do it by myself, I seem to be struggling even when I try to turn to the Savior and ask for relief. I really don't want to be separated from my family for eternity and I hate how I feel, but it's kind of automatic and I really don't feel in control of that aspect. I get sad because I don't want to be punished for feeling bad/angry at other peoples actions, but that's what will happen if I don't get over it.

I know many will say just let it go, get over it, accept it and move on; but for me that has been much easier said than done. How have you all come to terms with things like this and do you worry that you'll struggle with it forever and deprive yourself of the Celestial Kingdom? Do you worry you'll have to see certain people forever? How have you found peace?

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I, like everyone else, have my own weaknesses/struggles that I constantly worry will keep me from the Celestial Kingdom and my family. For me it is the inability to forgive three people. I pray, study, try to forget, go to the temple, etc. I've gone to counseling met with bishops everything I can think of, yet, when I am reminded of these people, I still get the same sick and angry feelings.

First, you are not  these thoughts and feelings. At your core you are a person filled with light and peace. These problems you face hide who you truly are. The negative dialogue in your mind drive these emotions and fuels your anger and frustration. Here is a question, can you separate who you are from your thoughts? Can you recognize the difference between you as a spirit being who has existed for eons of time and your mind which constantly analyzes and judges people and situations? 

At this point, I feel like I'm losing hope because I can't not only do it by myself, I seem to be struggling even when I try to turn to the Savior and ask for relief. I really don't want to be separated from my family for eternity and I hate how I feel, but it's kind of automatic and I really don't feel in control of that aspect. I get sad because I don't want to be punished for feeling bad/angry at other peoples actions, but that's what will happen if I don't get over it.

You will not receive additional punishment from God. You are in large measure facing the "punishment" now. It is simply what you have become. Your difficult to control anger, is what will remain with you beyond this life and will ultimately keep you from the fullness of joy found in the Celestial kingdom.

 

For me, whenever I tried to force myself to do what was right it seemed more difficult to improve. I pushed myself to study the scriptures, pray, attend church, the temple, but my thoughts and problems kept coming. While such things are good, it is vital that we focus on following the spirit. Sometimes this may not mean doing more but instead doing less. It may mean taking time out or centering our self and recognizing the spirit that is in us.

 

Also, for me, one of the most important steps is and has been realizing I couldn't do it myself as you have mentioned, but also realizing how to tap into the enabling power of the atonement in my own life. 

I know many will say just let it go, get over it, accept it and move on; but for me that has been much easier said than done. How have you all come to terms with things like this and do you worry that you'll struggle with it forever and deprive yourself of the Celestial Kingdom? Do you worry you'll have to see certain people forever? How have you found peace?

I certainly have had my own struggles and have been concerned with my soul. Because of that I have learned in some measure to feel my way forward. Keep working at it. Turn to the Lord in humility and do not expect him to solve your problem, but instead give you an inner strength for the day at hand. This he will do if you are humble and sincere. 

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It is a little ironic that this topic has come up. About three weeks ago I was asking the same question about missing the celestial kingdom. I did a lot of research about it over the last three weeks, and I found lots of comfort along with an admonition to keep going!

First, I highly recommend that you read the book "I'm not perfect. Can I still get to heaven" by Anthony Sweat. He discusses the fact that there is a trend among active members to adjudge themselves unworthy, often unnecessarily. Yes, it is impossible to be perfect in this life. That is what the atonement is for!

Second, do you have a current temple recommend? The recommend, in and of itself, is no guarantee of going to the celestial kingdom, but if you are worthy of holding one it is an excellent indicator that you are well on your way. Some conference talks suggest that, while some people with a recommend may not make it, such a situation is probably the exception rather than the rule and involves major lukewarmth regarding the church in terms of callings and attendance (you know, people who may somehow have a recommend but really just do not care). Based on your post and the fact that you are concerned, I highly doubt that you are lukewarm.

That said, if you do not conquer this issue in this life, you may have to do some repentance later before being admitted to the celestial kingdom, so it is in your best interest to conquer it now. But missing the celestial kingdom over a grudge? Unless it is so bad you cannot go to the temple, I am not sure this alone would do this. Lukewarmth is what kills, not having a minor imperfection. We are talking about Ill feelings here, not pornography!

After doing my research, I was very grateful for what I found and decided to tighten up my own life in these areas:

1. Try to stop cussing! (A favorite sin of mine.)

2. Pay attention in church! (I sometimes used to sleep in sacrament meeting).

3. Monthly temple attendance.

4. No more cheating on fast Sunday (having dinner at 3 pm) and give a good offering

5. Take callings, particularly home teaching, more seriously

6. Work more missionary work into my life, such as going on splits, etc.

Anyhow hope this helps.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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How about simply ignoring the thoughts for a few years? Don't worry about forgiving them; hold grudges, think ill of them, and hope they fall into financial ruin or herpes simplex or whatever. But quit thinking about them. When you find your mind drifting to them, or realize you're thinking about them -- stop. Force yourself to think about something else, something pleasant.

 

This may not be easy. Some of us, in an effort to be honest with ourselves and not cower away from difficult topics, have trained ourselves to focus on difficult, painful issues until we can see them through. But in some cases, that's actually unhealthy (I believe). We need to develop the skill of ignoring certain thoughts and even people until we find ourselves in a position to deal with them. I believe that's the position you are in now.

 

If you can simply quit thinking about them for a few years, then you might reapproach them in your thoughts and see if you can process what happened with them in a way that does not invoke your soul into self-poisoning. And if you still can't -- give it another year or two.

 

That's my suggestion, fwiw.

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I believe the answer lies in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and our personal revelation, convenient and revelation of Christ.  In short the forgiveness of our sins is not complete and neither is our witness of Christ and his atonement enough to save us until we have forgiven those that trespass against us.  Failure to forgive others is also failure to accept the atonement of Christ.  It is not that others and thoughts of them ruin our peace but it is not realizing that Christ has interceded so that we are free of the sins of others as well as our own sins.  Also we commit the greater sin in denying the Christ and his atonement, having received a witness of him, if we do not recognize that the atonement redeems (pay for all sins) and frees us - not just from the bondage of our sins but of that spiritual damage done to us through the sins of others.

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I completely know how you feel re: difficulty in forgiving. I felt prompted to pray for some people who had cheated/treated me very badly. I could tell that HF was very pleased. Praying for these people was hard to do but I felt much better. I also try not to ruminate. Don't pick at spiritual scabs, they leave nasty scars. Good luck!

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Add another thought - peace is not just what you do as an individual but something that one works out together with G-d.  So rather than try to solve such a problem within one's abilities - work it through with G-d - beginning with the covenant of Baptism.

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Being perfect, including being perfectly forgiving, is a lifelong process. Keep at it. Keep obeying the commandments. Keep repenting. Keep praying. Keep reading/studying scriptures. You'll get there eventually.

 

At the end of it all, what God is really asking us to do in this life is to try. And then, as Traveler has said, He has provided for us the Atonement so that when we fail we can succeed anyway, as long as we keep trying.

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At the end of it all, what God is really asking us to do in this life is to try. And then, as Traveler has said, He has provided for us the Atonement so that when we fail we can succeed anyway, as long as we keep trying.

This is it...we will all fall short in one way or another, the question I think when we are at our final judgment will be did you try? and not just a half hearted attempt, but really try your whole life to overcome this issue, and it can be anything....the more we try the more successful we become.

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Your situation reminded me of a poem I studied as part of my English Literature classes way back in my high school days. It tells of what can happen when we fail to forgive and hold on to our hurt. The poem is by Edward Blake and was published in 1794.

 

A POISON TREE.
[by William Blake, as in The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, David Erdman, ed.]


I was angry with my friend; 
I told my wrath, my wrath did end. 
I was angry with my foe: 
I told it not, my wrath did grow.


And I waterd it in fears, 
Night & morning with my tears: 
And I sunned it with smiles, 
And with soft deceitful wiles.


And it grew both day and night. 
Till it bore an apple bright. 
And my foe beheld it shine, 
And he knew that it was mine.


And into my garden stole,
When the night had veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretchd beneath the tree.

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