As the year winds down, I’ve been considering the goals we had as a ward this year.
- Read the Doctrine and Covenants.
- Become better home and visiting teacher.
- Understand the law of repentance.
I did read the Doctrine and Covenants once this year, and I am reading it again. We are also reading it this year as a family. It is an amazing book. It carries it’s own unique spirit and power—the words and witness of Jesus Christ are simple, pure and powerful. I love that book. It is one of the greatest treasures we have in this world.
I can always be a better home teacher. I could always be more kind, caring and attentive. I could be more prayerful, more sensitive to needs, of greater service. I think I need to carry that goal through the next year.
My understanding of repentance has certainly increased this year. For example, never before have I understood on such an elemental level the need to forgive others and myself. It is a unselfish, compassionate act to forgive another, and I congratulate those of you that lay aside your resentment and misunderstandings to forgive.
You free yourself more really than you free someone else when you forgive them. Forgiving is not the same as excusing behavior; it is letting the other person be accountable to God for his or her actions, and having faith that all will be made right by Him who is Eternal. That gives me great peace of mind.
I also have learned more deeply that even though we are commanded to forgive all men, we are not commanded to trust them, though we might like to. This helps me feel more free as well.
I have enjoyed serving you this year as your bishop so much. I love you. The greatest joy that has come to me over the last four years has been watching so many of you grow in remarkable ways. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and much joy and prosperity in the coming year.