"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men." - D&C 64:10
The last week we had a rather large snowstorm by
standards. Everything shut down for two days. For the periods of time it wasn't
actively snowing we were out shoveling walkways and pushing people's cars.
Still, we were forced to spend much time in the church attempting to talk to
investigators over Facebook.
While out offering to help people I saw an older lady shoveling snow in her driveway. I heroically rushed to her aid and with great dignity slipped on the snow and fell right on my tush.
When I had brushed myself off and walked up to this same lady and politely asked her if I could shovel her snow, she ran away from me, brandished a stick at me and told me to go away. Grouch!
As I sat in the church during those snowy days, I had a lot of time to think. I was thinking about sin. Sin, as we know, is when someone has a knowledge of what is right but nevertheless willfully and selfishly puts his or her wants above God's. Each day every person on earth commit numerous sins. But -- the question came to me -- just HOW many?
So I put a little scenario together, just for fun. All of these were done with numbers I made up because I didn't have access to any statistics as a missionary snowed-in inside a church.
There are 24 hours in a day. We are ideally asleep for 8 of those, so we generally don't commit sin during that time. To keep the numbers easy we will assume that each day we commit 10 sins, so a little less than 1 sin/hr. That is an extremely generous estimate.
Multiple this across a year: 10 x 365 = 3,650 sins a year.
I will arbitrarily assume that the average human lifespan is about 70 years. 3,650 x 70 = 255,500 sins per lifetime.
There are an estimated 7 billion people on this earth. I will arbitrarily assume that three times that, 20 billion, have walked this earth since the beginning.
255,500 x 20 billion = 5,110,000,000,000,000. A little over 5 quadrillion sins.
To give you an idea of how big of a number 5 quadrillion is: 5 quadrillion millimeters, a unit of measurement so small that it's hard to make with your thumb and index finger, is a distance that would take four and a half hours to travel while moving at the speed of light.
That's 5 quadrillion offenses against God. Each one was when somebody decided to ignore their Father in Heaven. 5 quadrillion. How many times are YOU willing to forgive someone?
One of my favorite Primary songs goes:
"Father said He needed someone who had enough love
To give his life so that we could return home above..."
The Plan simply could not work without someone with the sort of love that still forgives after so much rejection. Even a mother's love is not that strong. Any normal being would have given up on us in hatred and disgust long before they had reached the thousands.
"...There was another who sought for the honor divine;
Jesus said, "Father, send Me, and the glory be Thine."
The Savior had that kind of love. Though He was wronged an incomprehensible amount of times, it is this same Savior who said, "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent."
Do we begin to understand a bit better, now, the Savior's love for us? That love, which makes Him so freely forgive, is charity, the most powerful force in this universe. It is infinite. It does not fail. Even 5 quadrillion is nothing compared to infinity.
It is this same Being who tells us, "As I have loved you, love one another." And, also, "Of you, it is required to forgive all men." He will lend His love to us upon our request if we feel we are struggling to love our neighbor. He will give it freely, but only if we ask for it.
What started out as a fun little experiment became a profound spiritual experience for me. I love being a missionary and I am grateful for the ability the Lord has given me to love the people I come in contact with. I treasure the time I have to serve Him. This Church is true, and I love you all. Hurrah for