“I, the Lord, Will Forgive Whom I Will Forgive, but of You It Is Required to Forgive All Men”

Doctrine and Covenants 64:1–14

1 Behold, thus saith the Lord your God unto you, O ye elders of my church, hearken ye and hear, and receive my will concerning you.
2 For verily I say unto you, I will that ye should overcome the world; wherefore I will have compassion upon you.
3 There are those among you who have sinned; but verily I say, for this once, for mine own glory, and for the salvation of souls, I have forgiven you your sins.
4 I will be merciful unto you, for I have given unto you the kingdom.
5 And the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom shall not be taken from my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., through the means I have appointed, while he liveth, inasmuch as he obeyeth mine ordinances.
6 There are those who have sought occasion against him without cause;
7 Nevertheless, he has sinned; but verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, forgive sins unto those who confess their sins before me and ask forgiveness, who have not sinned unto death.
8 My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.
9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
11 And ye ought to say in your hearts—let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.
12 And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation.
13 And this ye shall do that God may be glorified—not because ye forgive not, having not compassion, but that ye may be justified in the eyes of the law, that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver—
14 Verily I say, for this cause ye shall do these things.

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“The Lord declared that when He was in His ministry His disciples sought occasion against one another and failed at times to forgive in their hearts [see D&C 64:8]. It was this condition which prompted Peter to ask the Lord how many times he should forgive his brother, ‘till seven times?’ The Lord answered him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven’ (Matt. 18:21–22). As the disciples of old brought upon themselves affliction and chastening, so we, when we do not have in our hearts the spirit of forgiveness, bring upon ourselves affliction and chastening from the Lord [see D&C 64:8]. Of us, the Lord declared, it is required to forgive all men [see D&C 64:10], ‘Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin’ [D&C 64:9]. While the requirement is made of us to forgive all men, the Lord by divine right holds the power to forgive whom He will forgive [see D&C 64:10]. We should say in our hearts, ‘Let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds’ [D&C 64:11]. ‘And him that repenteth not of his sins, and confesseth them not, ye shall bring before the church, and do with him as the scripture saith unto you, either by commandment or by revelation’ [D&C 64:12]. By doing this we glorify the Father [see D&C 64:13].”

(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:235.)

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