For more information on this topic read “The Divine Gift of Repentance,” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Ensign, Nov 2011, 38.
"Repentance means not only abandoning sin but also committing to obedience." (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Divine Gift of Repentance,” Ensign, Nov 2011, 38.)
Turn to the Lord with all your mind, might, and strength; that ye lead away the hearts of no more to do wickedly; but rather return unto them, and acknowledge your faults and that wrong which ye have done. (Alma 39:13)
(Note: Teach from a staircase if you have one in your home. If not, you may wish to draw a staircase, or show a picture of one.)
Ask your family to imagine the Savior standing at the top of a staircase. Read Moses 6:57 together and ask what we must do to return to the Saviors’ presence. How is repentance like a staircase? What steps do you think are necessary to repent?
Have your family search Mosiah 4:6–11 and look for steps that lead to repentance. Discuss those they find and talk about how each of those steps can help us come unto Christ.
(Dennis H. Leavitt and Richard O. Christensen, Scripture Study for Latter-day Saint Families: The Book of Mormon, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 118.)
Joe made a mistake—a big one. He knew it. And now, everyone was going to know about it—thanks to the police.
“Excuse me, sir,” said the officer who came to our door, “but do you know a little boy with blond hair, six years old or so, who is wearing blue shorts and a blue and red striped shirt?”
I glanced at blond-haired Joe, who was six years old at the time and who was wearing blue shorts and a blue and red striped shirt as he sat watching He-Man on TV. He took one look at the policeman and burst into tears.
“I didn’t mean to do it!” he said. “Don’t let them take me to jail!”
Obviously, something had happened that I needed to know about. I turned to the officer for an explanation. “He was throwing rocks at cars,” he said. “He hit one. Did some damage.”
I looked at Joe. His chin quivered. He looked at me with tear-filled eyes and nodded. I didn’t know whether to hug him or spank him. So I turned to the officer: “What should we do?”
“Under the circumstances, the owner of the car isn’t inclined to press charges,” he said. “But he would appreciate an apology, and he thinks you ought to help him get his car fixed.”
That was only fair, I agreed. The policeman gave me the car owner’s address, and after a lecture to Joe about not throwing rocks at cars, the officer left. I picked up the lecture where the policeman left off. Now, it should be noted that I am a notorious lecturer. My lectures are so long, my children don’t measure them in terms of minutes, they measure them in terms of
shoe sizes (“My feet grew two sizes during that lecture.”) And I am prone to flights of fancy that defy description—and logic. I have been known to cover Egyptian architecture, the life span of various marsupials, Wilt Chamberlain’s impact on basketball, and the wit and wisdom of the Monkees during a lecture on taking out the trash.
So we had pretty much covered the dangers of rock-throwing and respect for the property of others—not to mention Peruvian horticulture and the sociological implications of Gilligan’s Island— by the time we got to the car owner’s house. I was hoping to see a beat-up truck in the driveway. Unfortunately, it was a beautiful red Camaro, with a glaring scratch and dent on one door.
“Do we have to do this?” Joe asked as we stood at the car owner’s door. “Yep,” I said.
See? I can be brief.
“But what should I say?”
“Tell him you’re sorry.”
Which is just what Joe did. His apology was short, nervous, and sincere. The car owner told Joe that he forgave him, that he understood that kids make mistakes, but that it was really important not to throw rocks at cars. Then he talked to me about getting his car fixed.
It was that last part that Joe didn’t understand. “If he forgives me,” he asked as we made our way home, “why do we still have to pay for it?”
“Because his car is still damaged, and the damage is still our fault,” I explained. “Your saying ‘I’m sorry’ and him saying ‘I forgive you’ doesn’t change that.”
I’m not sure Joe understood completely. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, even for those who are older and more experienced. Some of us forget that forgiveness and accountability are not mutually exclusive and that being sorry—and being forgiven—doesn’t free us from the consequences of the choices we make. We can be sorry, forgiven, and accountable.
Even if our mistake is big, and everyone knows about it.
(Jay A. Parry, Everyday Answers, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003], p. 17.)
Have a soap sculpting activity. Provide everyone in the family a bar of soft soap, small carving utensils (knives, sticks, spoons), and ideas for sculptures (bear, fish, turtle, butterfly, owl).
(George and Jeane Chipman, Games! Games! Games!, [Salt Lake City: Shadow Mountain, 1983], p. 198.)