Forgiveness Isn't Just for Sins

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(This is an excerpt from book Don't Throw Rocks at His Window: Real Advice to Mend a Broken Heart.)

Whether your heart is broken intentionally or quite by accident, it is easy to turn the pain of rejection into anger at the person who rejected you. The world will tell you that anger is justified and that vengeance is sweet. But the world is wrong.

On my mission in the Philippines, I had a Filipino companion who loved to cook, and I loved to eat her cooking. I had been in the country for only a few weeks when she cooked a meal that included peppers in the sauce.

Now, I’m not talking about red or green or yellow peppers. I’m not even talking about jalapeño peppers. I’m talking about the tiniest, hottest, most brutal pepper known in that part of the world—the siling labuyo, or bird’s eye chili. Everyone in the Philippines knew they weren’t supposed to actually eat the peppers. Except for me. Because, you know, I was in a foreign country and nobody told me.

So there I was, happily eating this delicious dinner, when I suddenly bit into a volcano. It was beyond hot. I actually stopped breathing for a minute, it was such a shock. Tears started streaming down my face, and my nose ran like a faucet. I think I even screamed.(Okay, I know I screamed.) I grabbed a cup of water and poured it down my throat, but the water just slid right by the heat.

I jumped up and tried in vain to find something—anything—to stop the pain. But there was no antidote in sight. I ran around the kitchen, coughing and gasping and crying all at once. I thought I would die. It hurt so much.

My companion sat there and calmly watched me behave like a lunatic. Then she said, “You know, you’re not supposed to eat the peppers.”

Yeah. Thanks for telling me that—now. If she had told me before dinner not to eat the peppers, do you think I would have eaten them? No!

Well, holding onto anger is like putting a wicked-hot pepper in your mouth. It will hurt. Since I have lived in the land of broken hearts before, I will give you the warning that I wish someone had given me: don’t eat the peppers. Don’t even put them in your mouth. In other words, steer clear of anger. Don’t take it in, don’t carry it around, and don’t make a place for it in your heart.

Anger will eat at the most tender parts of your heart and make you hard-hearted, bitter, and jaded. A hard heart cannot feel the gentle touch of the Holy Ghost. A bitter heart cannot taste the sweetness of forgiveness. A jaded heart cannot believe in Christ’s power to heal all wounds.

If you turn your pain to anger, and if you feed that anger and let it harden your heart, you will become separated from the One who would be your constant companion—the Holy Ghost. And the pain of a broken heart will feel like a paper cut compared to the amputation of the Comforter. Your anger will harm you much more than it will ever harm the person you’re angry with.

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