Sins and Sinners

I've hesitated writing on this topic for a long time, because no matter when I write it, I'm afraid it will look like it's directed at someone in my life. So let me just preface this by saying: this is directed at no one in particular. It's just something I've seen a lot, all over, in myself and in others, and it's something I wanted to address. 
A few years ago, I had been in a big fight with one of my best friends about the boy she was going to marry. We ended up not talking for 2 years. At the same time, I also had a family member I hadn't talked to for years, as well as other friends who I hadn't just fallen out of touch with, but who I purposefully chose to cut out of my life for one reason or another. 
Finally one day it hit me: I had all these people in my life that I was afraid to bump into, that caused me anxiety and stress to worry about hanging onto my anger. I was certainly not faultless in any of the situations, no matter how justified I felt in my anger. It was exhausting.
It seems like the older I get, the harder the situations become. Where silly spats used to cause temporary rifts between friends, I am now dealing with friends going through bitter divorces, angry fights and situations where one or both parties have definitely been wronged. And even when I am not the person directly involved, I find it very hard to just let go of my anger.
I am very quick to jump to conclusions and choose sides. Caleb, who doesn't have any of those tendencies and couldn't if he tried, has helped me a lot in this regard.
But the thing that has hit me the most lately is realizing that we are not our sins
We are all going to make mistakes. You will never find a friend or spouse who doesn't upset you sometimes, or hurt your feelings, or even occasionally upset you so much that you want to cut off all ties and never speak to them again.
But it's rarely ever worth it. Because despite how severe we may deem the sin, it is not ever impossible to overcome. Christ taught, "And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also" (Luke 6:29)
I have always struggled with that scripture. Shouldn't I be able to cut people out of my life who have hurt me? Isn't there something to be said for protecting myself against future harm?
But I think I understand that scripture better now. It shows us how much Christ believes in each one of us to be able to change. He knows that those we love will often hurt us more than our enemies ever could. He knows that we will probably hurt those we love in return.
But he also knows that he provided us all a way to return to our Father in Heaven completely clean. He didn't just do that for those with the minor, no-big-deal sins. The atonement is for each and every one of us. 
I don't say this to judge anyone's choices. There are definitely abusive relationships which should be left behind and forgotten.
But for the most part, I think we all need to remember that we are not our biggest sins. Sometimes we have to swallow our pride and let time heal us, and somehow come to separate the sin from the sinner. Because people aren't replaceable. Because when it comes to our marriages especially, I believe we have to fight. These days marriage isn't looked at as something that will last forever, but it should be. That is how we should always think of it, and only in the most dire circumstances should we even consider letting go. Because those we love are worth fighting for. Because we come out of those trials with stronger relationships and determination to be better, to do better. 
But mostly, because if today you are the one being hurt by another's actions, tomorrow you will likely be the one hurting someone else. And I hope that when I am on that end, my family and friends will still be there, willing to forgive, willing to believe that I can change, and that I am worth loving again.

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