Tuesday, April 26, 2016

AoE Healing

Many games that involve combat also involve healing. If there is a way to lose health in the game, there's also usually a way to regain it. In games that involve multiple people on the same team, there are sometimes ways for one player to heal another. Sometimes, one player can heal many others at the same time, though they usually all have to be within the same area. This is called Area of Effect (AoE) healing. Everyone stands within the circle, then everyone within the circle gets healed.

However, games with AoE healing effects have to answer an interesting question: What happens if an enemy gets into the circle? Do they get healed as well? I see no reason why they wouldn't. A spell whose effect is as simple as "heal everyone in this circle" would have no way to distinguish between friend and foe. If an effect were to heal your friends, but not your enemies, it would have to have some way to tell the difference between the two.

Games solve this problem in different ways. Some games keep track of who's on whose team, and they make sure your healing spells affect only your teammates. Other games allow you to specify exactly who you do or do not want to be healed, either by allowing you to name exceptions to the AoE effect (e.g. Heal everyone in this circle, except for that guy), or by forcing you to select each individual you want to heal. Depending on how the game goes about it, trying to figure out how to heal your friends but not heal your enemies can be a complicated problem.

In real life, it's not actually a problem at all. Real life is a game that involves spiritual combat, and it involves spiritual healing as well. The spiritual healing I'm referring to is forgiveness. In this sense, Jesus Christ is the ultimate healer. His Atonement created an AoE healing effect that encompasses the entire world. By putting the entire planet within His healing circle, Christ was presented with the challenge of figuring out He could make sure He healed some people without accidentally healing others. His solution was wonderfully simple; He didn't bother. As far as I know, Jesus made no effort to exclude anyone from His healing power. Even His mortal enemies, the people who actually executed Him, had access to His forgiveness. He didn't exclude anyone from His healing circle, and neither should we.

In a much smaller way, we have the ability to forgive others, healing their (and our own) spiritual pain. Some of these people, we may consider our enemies. After all, they hurt us, which is why they require our forgiveness. However, in the grand scheme of things, we are not enemies at all. We are all brothers and sisters. We have the same goal, even if not all of us know it, and there is no good reason for us not to help each other along. As such, we have no reason not to heal others, including even those who have hurt us. In fact, there are many reasons why we should forgive them, specifically.

One reason we should heal our enemies is because we heal ourselves in the process. In his April 2016 General Conference talk, The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness, Elder Kevin R. Duncan taught us that "an unforgiving heart harbors so much needless pain."
Even though we may be a victim once, we need not be a victim twice by carrying the burden of hate, bitterness, pain, resentment, or even revenge. We can forgive, and we can be free!
Another reason we should especially heal our enemies is to show them that we are not really enemies at all. If we forgive those who have harmed us, they may feel sorry for harming us, making them less likely to do it again. In a purely practical sense, it's a defensive measure designed to reduce and prevent aggression. In a spiritual sense, it's the right thing to do.

In the end, all judgement belongs to the Lord, and He has offered a way for everyone to be forgiven. We should follow His example by offering forgiveness to others. Doing so will lessen the spiritual pain that we feel, and it will dull their spiritual pain as well. When it comes time for justice, God will be just, but He will also be merciful, and He asks us to be merciful as well. Let us let the Lord soften our hearts so we can gladly extend the healing ointment of forgiveness, not just to our friends, but to everyone whose lives we touch.