Like anything else in life involving other people with their own agency, you can do everything right and still come up short. In the world of LDS dating, coming up short means experiencing pain. Often this pain results from others’ choices, choices outside your direct control.
I firmly believe life is what we make of it. I can’t preach the gospel of owning your life and believe otherwise. At the same time, I accept that some elements of my life are outside my control. There I control only my response.
The natural man or woman inside each of us takes offense rather easily. We can quickly make the case for why we should be avenged for the wrongs we receive from other Latter-day Saints while dating. We’ve all been there and done that. I even have the shirt, the hat, and the jacket!
But holding on to feelings of resentment and bitterness doesn’t improve your single situation nor make you any more attractive to the companion you’re seeking. Life isn’t always easy, but your journey can be easier when you drop the extra baggage.
Insist on right
Forgiveness allows us to release the negativity that in effect separates us from God. That’s probably not our intention when we fail to forgive someone. We’re not consciously thinking our grudge will bring us closer to the Lord. Usually we’re thinking about our righteousness in demanding justice for the wrongs we suffer.
Our wrongs may very well demand justice. But we don’t dispense that. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
We may fool ourselves into thinking that our grudge helps bring about the right. But what righteousness does any grudge really bring? Does focusing on that pain make us any less single? Does refusing to release our anger make us any more attractive to a potential companion?
If we want to insist on right, we should let go of our grudges, because they don’t rightfully belong to us. They’re the Lord’s, and His is the right to redress them. He’ll do that in His own way and His own time. Our right is to allow Him His right and focus on increasing our discipleship as we journey home to Him.
Increase your tolerance
Perhaps some of us demand too much of ourselves. Because celestial marriage is eternal in nature, it’s not a far leap to think that every little thing about securing that eternity must go correctly, or we’ll suffer an eternity of less — less happiness, less fulfillment, less satisfaction, less joy.
Yes, what we do matters. Our choices today determine our tomorrow. At the same time, life holds room for making mistakes along the way. Every little thing doesn’t have to be exactly just so for our journey to end gloriously.
Not allowing for those mistakes can hold us back. When we fail to forgive others, we deny them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and thereby grow into something more. When we fail to forgive ourselves, we deny ourselves the same opportunity.
Isn’t that why we’re all here? Aren’t we supposed to be growing into something more than we were before? We can always learn from any experience and leverage it to our advantage.
Let it go
I recall being in love some years ago with someone who married someone else. She called me on my birthday to tell me about this other guy. And then a couple of weeks later, I learned I wasn’t invited to the wedding.
I was severely depressed for months. In an effort to support me, some of my friends berated her. I quickly chided them. Yes, she hurt me extensively, but I still loved her and didn’t want to have someone I loved treated that way.
At the same time, I severed all connection with her. She later tried contacting me, perhaps feeling remorse over how she treated me. But she’d caused too much pain for me to trust her not to hurt me again.
Forgiving others doesn’t mean you must associate with them. It simply means you release your negative emotions — the anger, the bitterness, the resentment. Forgiveness like love should be unconditional. Trust, on the other hand, must be earned.
We’ve all been hurt along our dating journey. Only when we drop the extra baggage can we free ourselves to move forward in the way we should. When we apply complete forgiveness to our hearts, we become truly healed. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and now I produce a weekly radio show to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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