Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice: Forgive

Gordon B. Hinckley
From “Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Tambuli, Nov. 1991, 2–7; Ensign, June 1991, 2–5.


President Hinckley pleads with us to ask the Lord for the strength to forgive.

Guy de Maupassant, the French writer, tells the story of a peasant named Hauchecorne. While walking through the public square, he caught sight of a piece of string lying on the cobblestones. He picked it up and put it in his pocket.

Later in the day the loss of a purse was reported. Hauchecorne was arrested and taken before the mayor. He protested his innocence, showing that it was only a piece of string that he had picked up. But he was not believed and was laughed at.

The next day the purse was found, and Hauchecorne was absolved [cleared] of any wrongdoing. But, resentful of the false accusation, he became embittered and would not let the matter die. Unwilling to forgive and forget, he thought and talked of little else. Everyone he met had to be told of the injustice. Obsessed with his grievance, he became ill and died. In his death struggles, he repeatedly murmured, “A piece of string, a piece of string.” (See “The Piece of String,” in The Works of Guy de Maupassant [n.d.], 34–38.)

With variations of characters and circumstances, that story could be repeated many times in our own day. How difficult it is for any of us to forgive those who have injured us.

My brothers and sisters, let us bind up the wounds caused by plans to “get even” with those who have wronged us. We all have a little of this spirit of revenge in us. Fortunately, we all have the power to rise above it. I plead with you to ask the Lord for strength to forgive. It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly. But if you will seek it, there will come into your heart a peace. This is the sweet peace of Christ, who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9).

Illustrated by Mary and Michael Packer