What can we all learn from experiences? We need to recognize and acknowledge angry feelings. It will take humility to do this, but if we will get on our knees and ask Heavenly Father for a feeling of forgiveness, He will help us. The Lord requires us “to forgive all men”15 for our own good because “hatred retards spiritual growth.” 16 Only as we rid ourselves of hatred and bitterness can the Lord put comfort into our hearts.
Of course, society needs to be protected from hardened criminals, because mercy cannot rob justice.17 Bishop Williams addressed this concept so well when he said, “Forgiveness is a source of power. But it does not relieve us of consequences.”18 When tragedy strikes, we should not respond by seeking personal revenge but rather let justice take its course and then let go. It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge. For all of us who forgive “those who trespass against us,”19 even those who have committed serious crimes, the Atonement brings a measure of peace and comfort.
James E. Faust, “The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 2007, 67–69