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For week ended September 05, 1999 Posted 4 Sep 1999

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Forgiveness has no alternatives

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Forgiveness has no alternatives
Wheaton IL Sun 2Sep99 C7
By Elder Leo Brown: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Leo Brown of the Wheaton Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Stake director of public affairs in Naperville, Illinois. With concern for the hardships created by the war in Kosovo and other areas of unrest around the world, Elder Brown wrote an editorial for the Wheaton, Illinois Sun on the subject of forgiveness.

Writing of those who have been made homeless widows or orphans, Brown said, "...the suffering and cruelty were a grim, daily reality, the question of forgiveness is different. It is a problem so enormous it hardly can be faced. Yet it must be faced. Forgiveness may be done easily or with difficulty, but what is the alternative to forgiveness?"

Quoting the words of English novelist Charles Williams, he said, "the alternative is 'war, in the house and in the field, secret and open, malicious and continual. Every grudge and every resentment would...last; the dream of anything els would (be) but a dream, and a less recurrent dream.'"

Writing of the victims of war he said, "How can they forgive events so evil they are unforgettable? Part of the answer is a new way of thinking." Private grievance and private vengeance must be replaced with sober and evenhanded public, lawful justice. "Vengeance must be left to the Lord, to whom it solely and assuredly belongs." Quoting Deuteronomy 32:35, Hebrew 10:30 and Romans 12:19, Elder Brown said personal vengeance must be replaced by personal forgiveness.

Quoting the Lord's prayer, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," Matthew 6:12-15, Brown suggested that forgiveness can be doled out or it can be given generously, as Luke suggests, "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over", Luke 6:38.

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