“My parents were married in the temple, but now they’re divorced. I’m angry that they have broken up our family. How do I forgive them?”
If your parents have gone through a divorce, you know that it can feel a bit like someone cutting out the bottom half of your heart and throwing it into a blender. Feelings of anger, loss, and hurt are normal. But dwelling on such negative feelings keeps you from peace and healing. It’s important to remember that Jesus Christ—who suffered for all of our sorrows and sins—is willing to forgive each of us. That means we need to strive to forgive others too.
Forgiveness is a process and takes time. Be patient with yourself as you work and pray to love, forgive, and understand your parents. Don’t lose hope, and keep looking forward to the peace and happiness that will come from forgiving!
Many youth are going through or have gone through this same situation. Check out what they have to say about seven ways you can find peace even in the middle of divorce.
1. Pray to understand.
When my parents divorced, it was hard on my siblings and me. It took several years for me to forgive my father. I had to study the scriptures and pray with all my heart. I even talked to a counselor. Then I prayed to understand my dad. My eyes were opened, and I understood him, and it helped me heal. I was able to forgive, and I was freed from the chains that had held me down for so long. I know that the Savior’s Atonement is real. The Lord loves us and will never leave us comfortless.
2. Remember that your parents love you.
I’ve gone through this same situation, and I know it’s a tough one. It’s important to realize that although your parents may not love each other anymore, they still love you because you are their child. Also, trust in Heavenly Father. He has commanded us to forgive everyone. He knows you and has a plan for you. If we continue to live worthily, I know that we can receive the promise of having an eternal family, even though our families here on earth may be a little broken.
Ashley W., 17, Texas, USA
3. Show your love.
Think about how much you love your parents. Remember all the fun you had with them before it happened. Talk with them about those times, and plan activities with your mom and dad individually. Play games with them and show your love toward them.
Sierra J., 15, Idaho, USA
“In many families, there are hurt feelings and a reluctance to forgive. It doesn’t really matter what the issue was. It cannot and should not be left to injure. Blame keeps wounds open. Only forgiveness heals.”
President Thomas S. Monson, “Hidden Wedges,” Ensign, May 2002, 19.
4. Remember that you can control your attitude. Choose to trust God and look for the good.
Try to put yourself in their shoes. It won’t be easy to forgive them if you don’t try to understand their situation. Trust that God has a plan for you and your family and that we have trials in this life so that we can learn and progress. Sometimes we can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our attitude. Although it might be difficult, try to always look for the good in your parents and think about how you can help.
Elder Caten, 20, Argentina Córdoba Mission
5. Get support from others.
I was able to get through my parents’ divorce and forgive them with help from the people around me. My friends, leaders, siblings, and family members helped me through everything. I was able to go on with my life with support from everyone.
Geena C., 18, New Mexico, USA
6. Let go of the bitterness.
Feeling bitter is harmful and goes against the teachings of the Church. Pray to Heavenly Father, fast, and read the scriptures to look for answers. If you hold on to bitterness, you will be allowing Satan to enter and destroy your family because he knows how important families are in our Heavenly Father’s plan.
Carol M., 14, Honduras
7. Seek to have the Holy Ghost.
First, none of us is perfect, except for our Lord Jesus Christ. I would try to see the situation through your parents’ eyes. Choose a good time and go talk to them. Don’t criticize your parents for what they did. Second, many people turn bitter during trials like these, so try to have the Holy Spirit with you. Do your personal scripture study and say your daily prayers.
Ashley P., 15, Utah, USA
Share your experience
How have you found peace through forgiving others? Click Share your experience below.