We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by admitting our mistakes. We can strengthen others by teaching by precept and example the importance of recognizing our errors and correcting them. We can even apologize to Heavenly Father for our sins and ask His help in overcoming our weaknesses. These are all steps to repentance as taught by the scriptures and by living apostles and prophets and other spiritual leaders.
We know a topic is important if more than one speaker in General Conference addresses it. The following quotes are taken from the October 2013 General Conference. We can assume that repentance is critically needed in our lives because so many speakers were prompted to speak about it.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, taught the “important difference between the sorrow for sin that leads to repentance and the sorrow that leads to despair. The Apostle Paul taught that `godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation … but the sorrow of the world worketh death [2 Corinthians 7:10; emphasis added]’ (“You Can Do It Now!” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 56).
“Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wants us to “Remember, repentance is not punishment. It is the hope-filled path to a more glorious future” (“Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 84).
“Elder Richard J. Maynes of the Quorum of the Seventy stated that “The Savior’s atoning sacrifice makes possible our future salvation and exaltation through the principle of repentance. If we honestly and sincerely repent, the Atonement can help us become clean, change our nature, and successfully endure our challenges” (“The Strength to Endure,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 79).
President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, directed his remarks to his grandchildren and included the topic of repentance. “We cannot force God’s children to choose the way to happiness. God cannot do that because of the agency He has given us.
“Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son love all of God’s children no matter what they choose to do or what they become. The Savior paid the price of all sins, no matter how heinous. Even though there must be justice, the opportunity for mercy is extended which will not rob justice…. We can always take courage from the assurance that we all once felt the joy of being together as a member of the beloved family of our Heavenly Father. With God’s help we can all feel that hope and that joy again” (“To My Grandchildren,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 71, 72).
When we repent of our sins and shortcomings and make the effort to never repeat them, we become better people. When we become better people, we strengthen our own families as well as our communities and nations.