Repentance is one of the most important and meaningful gifts we are given while living on this earth. Because we are not perfect individuals, we are in need of Christ's Atonement in our lives each day. Through repentance, we have the opportunity to start with a clean slate and rid ourselves of our sins. The Lord suffered for each of our sins so that we will be able to live with Him again. Here are some things to remember when you want to repent.
1. Find the desire to change:
Learning how to repent is a process and something that must be experienced first-hand. As your desire to change and become better increases, you will find strength in relying on the Lord.
"Our task is to become our best selves. One of God's greatest gifts to us is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final." -Thomas S. Monson
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2. Express Godly Sorrow:
Godly sorrow encourages us to keep trying while worldly sorrow pulls us down and doesn't truly change our heart. If we are too focused on what man thinks of us instead of God, we will continue to give into temptation. Expressing Godly sorrow shows the Lord you have a sincere desire to change your mind and heart and turn to Him. It shows Him that you recognize the sin and want to make it right again.
"Since all of us sin in greater or lesser degree, we are all in need of constant repentance, of continually raising our sights and our performance." -Spencer W. Kimball
3.Give up the sin completely:
Although difficult, abandoning the sin will allow you to focus on the steps necessary for change. The Lord will bless you in your efforts to turn away from the sin and focus on the healing power of His atonement.
"You can start over again and change your course from a downward, twisting, disappointing path to a superhighway to peace and happiness." -Richard G. Scott
4. Make restitution:
According to the Bible Dictionary, restitution is described as: "a return of something that was once present but that has been taken away or lost." Repentance allows us to find true and genuine happiness again as we faithfully make an effort to improve ourselves.
"Mistakes that seem to be small to you, if uncorrected, can have enormous consequences." -Joseph B. Wirthlin
5. Confess to the proper authority:
Continuously seek help from the Lord and those you trust as you go through the repentance process. However, major sins (including sexual transgressions and use of pornography) need to be confessed to a bishop. He is there to help you through the process and offer loving support and advice.
"To those who have transgressed or been offended, we say, come back. The path of repentance, though hard at times, lifts one ever upward and leads to a perfect forgiveness." -Howard W. Hunter
6. Forgive yourself and move forward:
It is often most difficult to forgive ourselves when we sin. We need to understand that if the repentance process is completed, God will remember those sins no more. We can feel freed from those burdens and continue to move forward in life, continually striving to be Christlike. Repentance is for our eternal happiness, and we should feel joy as we willingly repent of our sins.
"Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, we will falter. But as we seek to increase our love for God and strive to love our neighbor, the light of the gospel will surround and uplift us." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf
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The Atonement is a gift intended for all of God's children. It allows us to turn our hearts toward Christ and remain on the straight and narrow path. It offers hope, courage, and peace as we become clean and rid ourselves of past sins. Learning how to repent isn't always the easiest process, but it will provide us with an indescribable amount of joy.