An insight came to me today about a story in the eighth to the fifteenth chapters of Book of Mormon while I was at a meeting. A man whose name is Zeezrom was briefly mentioned. Zeezrom was a lawyer living in the city of Ammonihah. He was a very wicked man who stirred up the people to have arguments and disagreements with each other so that he could get more money. One day a prophet named Alma came into the city. He and his partner, Amulek, a resident of the city, began to call people to repentance. Well, this made Zeezrom and his associates unhappy, because if the people were to stop fighting with each other Zeezrom would be out of a job. So Zeezrom stepped up and began to contend with Alma and Amulek, to try to discredit their words in the eyes of the people. Alma and Amulek, being prophets of God, knew what he was thinking and brought him to the realization that what he was doing was very bad and that he needed to repent. Sadly though, the damage was already done. Because of Zeezrom's words many good people died and many more were driven from their homes in Ammonihah. Alma and Amulek were cast into prison, and, when they finally got out, they found Zeezrom lying in a bed, dying of a fever caused by the enormous guilt of what he had done. Zeezrom begged for their forgiveness and "besought them that they would heal him. And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught. And Alma said: If thou believest in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed. And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words. And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ. And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk" (Alma 15:5-11).
A question comes to mind as I ponder on this story. How could Alma have so easily forgiven Zeezrom? Did Zeezrom not cause the slaughter of many innocent people? Had his words not caused many to harden their hearts and refuse to believe in their Savior? At least part of the answer is that Alma had once been no better than he. At one point in his life Alma "went about... seeking to destroy the church of God" (Alma 36:6). Alma knew that if God was so willing to forgive him of his sins, which had been as great as those that Zeezrom had committed, he would be an unjust man if he did not forgive all of his brethren of their trespasses. We are not perfect, so we cannot condemn others for their shortcomings, no matter how great or small they may be. It is also remarkable to me that it doesn't matter how far we fall or how bad we become, God will forgive us of all that we do wrong if we repent. I know from personal experience the peace that comes from both forgiving others and being forgiven. All will be made right if we trust in God and in Christ's atonement. I know this. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.