From an October 2005 general conference address.
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I clipped an article written by Jay Evensen from the Deseret Morning News. With his permission, I quote from it:
“How would you feel toward a teenager who decided to toss a 20-pound [9-kg] frozen turkey from a speeding car headlong into the windshield of the car you were driving? How would you feel after enduring six hours of surgery using metal plates and other hardware to piece your face together? …
“… The victim, Victoria Ruvolo, … was more interested in salvaging the life of her 19-year-old assailant [attacker], Ryan Cushing, than in … revenge. … She insisted on offering him a plea deal. Cushing could serve six months in the county jail and be on probation for five years if he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.
“Had he been convicted of first-degree assault—the charge most fitting for the crime—he could have served 25 years in prison. …
“According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing … made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’
“Ruvolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping. She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses … heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’” 1
Who can feel anything but admiration for this woman? Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.
The great Atonement was the supreme act of forgiveness. The suffering was so great, the agony so intense, that none of us can understand it when the Savior offered Himself as a ransom for the sins of all mankind. I know only that it happened and that it was for me and for you. It is through Him that we gain forgiveness. It is through Him that all mankind will be granted resurrection from the dead. It is through Him and His great sacrifice that we are offered the opportunity through obedience of eternal life.
May God help us to be a little kinder, to be more forgiving, to lay aside old grudges and nurture them no more.
Things to Think About
How do you think Victoria Ruvolo’s forgiveness may have affected Ryan Cushing? Why?
President Hinckley reminds us that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins. Through Him we receive forgiveness if we repent. How does knowing this help us forgive others?
Does forgiving someone mean we have to let him or her keep hurting us?
“Forgiveness Has Power to Change Future,” Deseret Morning News, Aug. 21, 2005, p. AA3.