004R - I Chose to Forgive

"In the Midst of Thee" - volumes 1 & 2 contain 200 favorite Glenn Rawson Stories - at: History of the Saints . org

You know, without an assurance of God’s presence and a knowledge of His plan for us, life can become at best a guessing game, and sometimes at worst a cruel joke. If you think about it, it’s as though who [whom] we know and what we know strengthens us to face what we don’t know.

Gretchen’s teenage son, Tommy, left their home one night to go to a dance with two of his friends. While en route their car was hit by a drunk driver. The driver of the boy’s car was killed instantly. Tommy was taken to the hospital.

Gretchen, his mother, stood by Tommy’s hospital bed. Numerous tubes connected him to machines that worked to save his life. A small bandage on Tommy’s left knee was the only visible evidence of injury, but unseen Tommy’s life hung in the balance as he struggled to overcome the severe injury to his brain and spleen.

As Gretchen looked at her son lying in the bed, she realized that there were those who would justify her anger and bitterness. Slowly she let the anger come, until it boiled into fury! Her throat tightened, her breathing became rapid, and her hands clenched into tight fists.

“How could anyone do this to him?” she thought.

Then the feelings began to subside as her imagination carried her away to future holiday scenes – birthdays with cakes and candles, Thanksgiving tables spread with food, and a Christmas tree surrounded by gifts and people singing. Strangely though, all these merry scenes lacked any color, warmth, or joy.

It was then by the Spirit that Gretchen was given to understand that if she chose not to forgive the man who hurt her son, this was how her life would be – no color, no warmth, no joy.

She made her decision: It was to forgive. Peace filled her soul as the Spirit of God welled up within her. A desire to forgive filled her soul, and there at Tommy’s bedside she prayed for the blessings of God upon the man who had injured her son.

Well, Tommy died! But Gretchen’s resolution did not – never did. A few days later, she wrote a letter to the man who had killed her son “… hoping,” she said, “that he would accept our complete forgiveness.” She explained to him that her family had been blessed with understanding and peace. Because of their knowledge of the plan of salvation, they knew that Tommy and his friend still lived, and that life could go on.

Now, may the Lord bless us with a desire to better know Him – a fervent desire, a burning desire – and to come to know better the principles of His plan of happiness so that come what may in this uncertain life we too will have the strength to go on, and the peace to find joy.

Adapted from “I Chose To Forgive,” by Gretchen Knecht Clark, Ensign, June 1997, p 62.

Glenn Rawson, August 1998
Music: The Release (edited) - Hymns Piano Solos - Paul Cardall
Song: I Will Forgive – Kenneth Cope