One of the powerful truths about the Atonement of Jesus Christ is that it can do more than just wash away the sins of sinners (which all of us are). For those who are the victims of the sins of others, the Atonement also offers divine power to heal wounds.
The Book of Mormon refers to the great compassion of the Savior who has taken upon him our sufferings and pains. Through such compassion, He can reach us all and give us faith and hope to move toward Him. His mercy “encircles [us] in the arms of safety” (see Alma 34:9-16), something we all desperately need. As our Advocate before the Father, he pleads for us, as we read in Doctrine and Covenants 45:4-5:
Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.
Those who have been victimized by others face special challenges. It can be so hard to let go of anger, to forgive, and to accept the mercy of the Lord in healing our hearts as well as removing the sins of the offenders, should they repent. In the comments of one recent post, one former Latter-day Saint on his way back (“Books of Mormon in Indy”) made this salient point:
I honestly didn’t know that the Atonement could heal and “pay for” the wounds of the victims. I had thought it only applied to sinners and the perpetrators, not the victims.
Many of us sinners have, like Alma, found rapid relief from the hell of our guilt and the pains of divine justice by turning the Savior to seek forgiveness. For victims, the healing process can be much more complex and painful. But I can say that some of the most dramatic and miraculous evidences that I have seen of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ have been manifest in the healing of victims dealing with the trauma inflicted by others. This is especially true for those who have suffered from prolonged abuse. Sometimes victims feel far less worthy of love and forgiveness than the foulest of criminals, but the Lord has not forgotten them. With His help, miraculous and joyful progress and healing is possible. I’ve seen this in powerful ways, and wish for all victims to know that you, too, will only have true hope by turning to Jesus Christ to let the healing power of the Atonement work in your life as well. It’s not just for the offenders.