Saturday, May 22, 2010
There is a natural progression from faith in Jesus Christ to repentance. From the time of Adam, mankind has needed repentance. The Lord told Adam to "teach it unto your children that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence" (Moses 6:57). This earth was created as a place where we could grow and develop. During this lifelong process, we all sin and need to repent. Some sins are committed in ignorance; others are committed because of weakness or deliberate disobedience. Sin is unrighteousness and a transgression of law. Jesus Christ is the only being to ever live on earth and remain sinless. He lived a perfect life, and through His Atonement, Heavenly Father provided a way for everyone else to repent. Repentance is the way that we can become free from our sins and receive forgiveness for them. The burden of sin holds us back and slows or even stops our spiritual growth. Repentance is the process where we can throw off our burden of sin and start growing and developing again spiritually. Repentance is not easy. In fact, it is very difficult. It requires strength, courage, prayer, work, and sometimes even tears. "There is no royal road to repentance, no privileged path to forgiveness. Every man must follow the same course whether he be rich or poor, educated or untrained, tall or short, prince or pauper, king or commoner" (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball , 38; italics in original). The principles of repentance include: 1) We must recognize that we have sinned. Until we admit to ourselves that we have done something wrong, we cannot truly repent. 2) We must feel sincere sorrow - sometimes called godly sorrow - for what we have done and desire to unload the burden of sin. 3) We must forsake the sin or stop committing the sin. 4) We must confess all of our sins to the Lord. We should confess our sins to those we have injured by sinning. We must confess to proper priesthood authority any serious sin, such as adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, spouse or child abuse, or selling and/or using illegal drugs. 5) We must make restitution and do everything possible to right any wrong we did. 6) We must forgive others who have sinned against us. 7) We must keep the commandments of God. Sincere repentance changes lives. Repentance makes the Atonement of Jesus Christ more effective in our lives and brings forgiveness from God. As we become free from the burden of our sins, we find true joy coming into our lives. Repentance should be a part of our daily life. We should examine ourselves in the morning to determine if the Holy Ghost is with us. We should review our words and actions each night and ask God to help us recognize anything for which we need to repent. When we repent everyday and feel God's forgiveness for our sins, we can experience the daily process of becoming more like Christ. This process can bring sweet and exquisite happiness and joy into our lives.