Monday, July 11, 2011

"My back was to Christ, and all I could see was the person who had hurt me."

I was part of a group a while ago that was discussing the book, "The Peacegiver" - by James L. Farrell.  One of my friends in that group made the following comment, and when I came across it again today I was moved as much as I had been when she first shared it.  I hope it touches someone else as much as it touched me:
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I wasn't a fan of the way this book was written (the narrative voice).

HOWEVER...

The most significant thing I learned came from the retelling of the story of David, Nabal, and Abigail. Abigail becomes a type of Christ in this story, interceding on behalf of Nabal but also saving David from sinning in anger. What occurred to me as I read the vivid description of this account was the physical placement of each of these characters.

Abigail was physically in between Nabal and David. For years, I had tried to forgive others without complete success because I had the characters in the wrong place. It was like my offender was before me and Christ was behind me. I received mercy from Christ so I would turn and offer it to my offender. With this positioning the weight of forgiveness rested on my shoulders alone. As I turned to forgive my offender, my back was to Christ and all I could see was the person who had hurt me.

The story of Abigail put Christ between me and my offender, so that I had to look at Christ instead of the one who'd hurt me. There in front of me, arms outstretched and exuding unconditional love, was my Savior saying "upon me let this iniquity be". I could see the love He had for my offender as well as the love He had for me, and I couldn't even look at my offender without seeing the face of the Lord. Only after applying this principle to all my relationships was I able to completely experience a change of heart toward all my fellowmen.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Very interesting way to view it.

Rich Alger said...

That story is one of the most powerful parts of that book for me too.

Matthew said...

I love this idea, Ray. I have come to feel that forgiveness is a far more important part of the Atonement than I had really understood it to be. Both in terms of receiving and giving forgiveness.

I love this image, particularly:

'...my Savior saying "upon me let this iniquity be".'