The Savior recognizes our weaknesses. He knows that we are painfully aware of our wrongdoings, and He wants so much for us to know that it is okay, that He is not upset with us, that He forgives us, and that He loves us.
This Saturday, I worked the concession stands at the football game. A few minutes before halftime, our stand leader directed us to bag the last hundred or so pastries before the rush of hungry fans would swarm our stand. As my coworker and I stood at the rear counter bagging, an older man came up to us with his food, thinking that we were available to ring him up.
“This register is closed,” explained my coworker. “They can ring you up at the front.”
The man stood there frozen for a second without saying anything.
Motioning to the line of people, I offered, “If you’ll just follow this line, they’ll take care of you right at the other counter.”
Suddenly the man snapped, “I can manage that—what I can’t manage is two boys standing here doing nothing!”
He turned around and walked to the end of the line.
As we resumed our bagging, my thoughts began to turn defensive. Didn’t he realize that sacrificing two cashiers in order to prepare food for halftime led to better customer service in the end? And why was he so prideful that when he mistakenly approached the wrong counter, he couldn’t just gracefully thank us and join the correct line?
But those thoughts left as quickly as they appeared, and slowly, different thoughts began to enter my mind—thoughts of love, and of pain. I realized that I didn’t know if something bad had happened to him earlier that morning. And I wasn’t aware whether he had a family—perhaps he was feeling lonely amidst the thousands of people in the stadium.
I began to think about the anguish that he might be feeling. Was he angry at himself for the words he had said? Was he frustrated at himself for lashing out at us? I could only imagine that his heart felt broken, pained, and helpless. Perhaps he was beginning to notice that he was becoming more and more impatient as he aged, and as much as he wanted to change, he found himself helpless to control his character.
There were so many possibilities that could explain the man’s reaction. But of one thing I was sure—my heart languished for him, and I desired with all my heart to run after him and put my arms around him and say,
“It’s okay! I’m not upset with you. I forgive you. I love you.”
“And God loves you.”
So it is how the Savior sees us. He recognizes our weaknesses, but His heart is so full of compassion that He feels our pain and our guilt. He knows that we are painfully aware of our wrongdoings, and He wants so much for us to know that it is okay, that He is not upset with us, that He forgives us, and that He loves us.
“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
May we ever remember the Savior’s infinite mercy. He sees past our flaws. He knows our heart.
Furthermore, may we ever refrain from casting judgement, and instead, esteem our brothers as ourselves (D&C 38:24). As we do so, the Savior will more willingly forgive us and we will be able to “sing the song of redeeming love”,
How great, how glorious, how complete
Redemption’s grand design,
Where justice, love, and mercy meet
In harmony divine!
(see Alma 5:26 and Hymns, 195)