The word atonement carries many different meanings. To some people, atonement means to try to fix things they did wrong. To other people, the word means means that someone else did something wrong to me, and he/she should pay for his or her mistakes. To me, every time, I hear or read this word, I think of Christ. His atonement was truly infinite. And for that I am truly grateful.
Isaiah wrote a beautiful passage on what Christ's atonement was, (Isaiah 53:3-5) He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes, we are healed.
"He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." There is a lot of pain and sadness in our worlds caused by other circumstances or people. Also, "He was bruised for our iniquities," we sin and cause other people pain. Christ already suffered for all of this pain. He loved us enough that even when we hurt him and reject him, he chose to bleed, suffer, and die for us to keep us from all sorts of pain and suffering. He also chose to atone for our sins and mistakes, so we can go to live with God again.
Every person has the opportunity to choose to accept or reject this wonderful love of Christ. When we accept it, though, we are choosing to try to live like him. When Christ was choosing his apostles, he told them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." In following Christ, we choose to forgive others. God commanded us to "forgive all men." (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10.) I'm not to judge whether or not someone else is sorry for their sins. Luckily, that's God's territory. However, I'm supposed to forgive every person for any sin or pain they have caused me.
The problem is that this is easier said than done. I'm supposed to forgive them, but do I have to set myself up to get hurt by them again? No. I don't have to put myself in danger to forgive someone. However, I do have to work to forgive that person and avidly work to keep away negative feelings, anger, and hate from that person.
Julie Pippert has a wonderful post on this same topic at her blog. Feel free to come over there and join us for this week's Hump Day Hmm.