Though some may view it as a punishment, repentance actually is a gift given through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Without it, we wouldn't be able to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father and fully enjoy the blessings of eternal life.
However, as we inevitably sin and turn to repentance, we may wonder at times if we are fully forgiven. In a recent Facebook post, Elder David A. Bednar illustrates how repentance and forgiveness work over time and what is required for us to be fully forgiven for our sins.
Every person who has ever committed a sin—which is all of us—may wonder if he or she has repented fully and been forgiven. Sometimes members question why they remember the sin and the remorse.
I was recently in Mongolia, and a young adult asked me a question about repentance and forgiveness. I used two water bottles to teach a lesson about these vital principles.
I invited the young adults to imagine that the water bottles were filled not with water, but with dark, dirty sand. If we insert a single clean, pure grain of sand in one end, then a single dark grain of sand is forced out the other end. Has anything changed? Yes, but not in a dramatic or easily visible way. As we faithfully and consistently strive to eliminate the dirty sand, then eventually, the container is filled with only clean, pure sand. And that is similar to what happens to us and our painful memories of past sins.
When we sincerely repent, are forgiven by the Lord, and strive to forgive ourselves, then through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the stain of sin is removed and our garments are washed white (see Alma 5:21).
May you and I truly come unto Christ and repent with sincerity of heart. I pray that we will seek through the Savior’s Atonement to have both clean hands and a pure heart, that we may become holy, without spot.
Lead image from Elder Bednar's Facebook page
In this book, Elder David A. Bednar offers a compelling look at a pattern the Lord uses to bless His people: He works with us on an individual basis, one by one. Demonstrating that pattern as it occurs throughout the scriptures, in the lives of many Church leaders, and in his own ministry, Elder Bednar invites us to open our hearts to the Lord's love. He also teaches that by ministering as the Savior does, one by one, we can be more powerful instruments in His hands to accomplish His purposes.
From a "guided tour" through scriptural illustration to an array of touching personal accounts, this important new book offers hope and guidance for anyone who has ever wondered, "Do I matter to the Lord?"