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Why do I need to forgive others?

In order to receive forgiveness for our sins, we need to forgive others. Forgiving others allows us to overcome feelings of anger, bitterness, or revenge. Forgiveness can heal spiritual wounds and bring the peace and love that only God can give.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Which scriptures will help the young women recognize the blessings that will come into their lives as they forgive others?

Matthew 5:44; D&C 64:9–10 (We are commanded to forgive everyone)

Matthew 6:14–15; 18:21–35 or the video “Forgive 70 Times 7” (To receive forgiveness, we must forgive others)

Luke 23:34 (Jesus Christ forgave those who crucified Him)

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Forgiveness,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 81–84

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 70–76

Videos: “Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light,” “The Other Prodigal Son”

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Share the story about the frozen turkey in President Gordon B. Hinckley’s talk “Forgiveness.” What impresses the young women about this story? Invite the young women to think of or write down the name of someone they have had difficulty forgiving. Encourage them to think about this person throughout this lesson.
  • Ask the young women to think about a time when they have had to forgive someone. Invite them to share their experience, if they feel comfortable doing so. What happened as a result? How might things have been different if they hadn’t forgiven?

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the young women understand the importance of forgiving others. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Divide the young women into groups, and give each group copies of one of the talks provided in this outline (or another talk of your choice about forgiveness). Invite them to spend a few minutes reading the talk and marking statements that impress them (tell them not to worry about reading the entire talk; emphasize instead the importance of pondering its message). Ask them to share with the class what they find and explain why it is meaningful to them.
  • Read together the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:23–35 (or show the video “Forgive 70 Times 7”), and ask the young women to calculate and compare the debts of the servant and his fellowservant (see “Weights and Measures” in the Bible Dictionary). What do the young women learn from this parable about forgiveness? Invite the young women to find and share other scriptures that teach the importance of forgiving others (such as the scriptures suggested in this outline).
  • Ask the young women to compare examples in the scriptures of people forgiving others. You could review the examples of Joseph in Egypt (see Genesis 45:1–7), Nephi and his brothers (see 1 Nephi 7:21), Jesus Christ on the cross (see Luke 23:34), or others. Why is it especially important to forgive family members? Show one of the videos suggested in this outline, and ask the young women to share their impressions. What other examples of forgiveness could they share?
  • Ask the young women to find something in the scriptures that the Savior taught about forgiving others and share what they find with the class (see Matthew 5:44; 6:14–15; 18:22–23). Ask them to share experiences of the peace that comes from forgiving others.
  • Write the following questions on separate slips of paper, and hand one to each class member: Why do we need to forgive everyone, including ourselves? Why is the Lord the only one who can decide whether or not a person should be forgiven? Why is failure to forgive such a great sin? Invite the young women to ponder their question as they read Doctrine and Covenants 64:9–11 and to share their thoughts and insights.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand the importance of forgiving others? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be helpful to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Write in their journals any impressions they received about forgiving others. Whom do they need to forgive? How will forgiving others bless their lives?
  • Memorize a hymn or scripture about forgiveness.