After the prophet Lehi and his family left Jerusalem, and the family of Ishmael joined them in the wilderness, Laman, Lemuel, and some of Ishmael’s family began to rebel against those who were living righteously. Lehi’s son Nephi was sad that his brothers were being rebellious. He said, “How is it that ye are so hard in your hearts, and so blind in your minds, that ye have need that I, your younger brother, should speak unto you, yea, and set an example for you?
“How is it that ye have not hearkened unto the word of the Lord?” (1 Ne. 7:8–9.)
Laman and Lemuel became very angry with him. They did not like to be told they were living unrighteously. They became so angry that they tied him up and planned to leave him bound (tied up) to be eaten by wild beasts.
Nephi prayed, “O Lord, according to my faith which is in thee, wilt thou deliver me from the hands of my brethren; yea, even give me strength that I may burst these bands with which I am bound” (1 Ne. 7:17).
The bands that were tied around him were loosed from his hands and feet, which made Laman and Lemuel even angrier. When they tried to hurt him, however, Ishmael’s wife and two of his children pleaded with them so much that their hearts were softened and they were sorry for their wickedness.
Laman and Lemuel bowed down before Nephi and asked for his forgiveness. Instead of being angry with his brothers for trying to hurt him, Nephi said that he “did frankly forgive them all that they had done, and … did exhort them that they would pray unto the Lord their God for forgiveness” (1 Ne. 7:21).
We, too, can choose whether to forgive those who have hurt or offended us, or to remain angry with them. Eight-year-old Nils Evensen from South Jordan, Utah, has learned to follow Nephi’s example of being forgiving. When Nils turned eight, he saved all his birthday money and bought a toy that he really wanted. He was always very careful to put it away after playing with it so that it would not get broken. One day, a friend accidentally sat on the toy and broke it. Nils’ eleven-year-old sister, Linnea, said that instead of getting angry with his friend, Nils told him, “It’s OK—we can glue the pieces back on.” Because Nils chose to be forgiving, he was able to keep a friendship that might have been badly hurt if he had chosen to get angry.
Color the flannel-board figures, then mount them on heavy paper. Cut them out and use them to retell the story “Nephi Forgives.”
Nephi; Laman and Lemuel; Nephi bursting his bands; Boy with a broken toy; Laman and Lemuel bowing before Nephi.