4. Remember Him, Not Past Sins (Hank Smith)
I don’t know about you, but I really hate sin. I hate how sinning makes me feel inside. Occasionally, someone will comment to me, “I wish I could be baptized again. It would be nice to feel that clean again.” If you have ever felt that way, mark these lines in your own copy of True to the Faith: “You receive great blessings when you keep the baptismal covenant. As you renew it, the Lord renews the promised remission of your sins” (p.148).
Isn’t that wonderful! The Lord has provided the sacrament so you can feel that clean again each and every week if you keep your baptismal covenant. In my personal study of the baptismal covenant, I’ve noticed that the Savior places a great deal of emphasis on our promise to remember Him. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but of the three covenants we renew as part of the sacrament prayer on the bread, only one is carried over to the sacrament prayer on the water—“that they do always remember Him.”
When the Savior first instituted the sacrament in Jerusalem just before His death, Luke records: “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). And when He first instituted the sacrament among the Nephites, the Savior said: “And this shall ye always observe to do, even as I have done, even as I have broken bread and blessed it and given it unto you. And this shall ye do in remembrance of my body, which I have shown unto you. And it shall be a testimony unto the Father that ye do always remember me” (3 Nephi 18:6–7).
Why is remembering the Savior so critical to our sacrament experience? I personally feel that the Savior is not only telling us what to remember, but what not to remember. When we have the cleansing experience of the sacrament and the Lord renews the promised remission of our sins, we seem to have a natural tendency to sabotage the experience by needlessly remembering all of our past sins.
When the Savior directs us to always remember Him, He is also directing us to not always remember our past sins. Dwelling on our previous mistakes or the mistakes of others is depressing and discouraging. Think back to the example of Isaiah. Notice that Isaiah doesn’t continue to tell us about his “unclean lips” after his sacrament experience. The cleansing power of forgiveness has closed and sealed the door on his past sins. He doesn’t bring them back up, and neither should we. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies didn’t spend any time digging up the weapons they had buried. The Lord clearly states, “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:10). Part of the requirement to forgive all men is to forgive yourself.
Lead image from LDS.org
For more tips on how to make your sacrament experience more meaningful, pick up your copy of The Sacrament: Coming Closer to Christ through this Sacred Ordinance at a Deseret Book store near you or online at deseretbook.com.