Hello everyone! This week was a great one, mostly because I got to see all of my friends in the Seoul mission (shout out to Elders Seely, Dye, and Skinner) and also because we found a pretty awesome guy who wants us to teach him and his wife.
So today I want to make up to all of you for missing my last letter by writing a slightly longer one. So two weeks ago I talked about the idea that there are two different causes for the feelings of hopelessness and being lost in our lives. Two weeks ago, I talked about how one of the reasons for these feelings is that they are an inevitable result of living. Today I want to talk about the other reason for these feelings: the bondage of sin.
I feel like the concept of repentance is often misconstrued as something that only people who are very evil have to do. Also I feel like repentance is often thought of as a painful process and that it can be avoided by just ignoring the problem. First of all, in the words of the prophet Alma, repentance should not be a bitter experience or even always a difficult one. He declares,
Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth. (Alma 29:2)
According to Alma, if we just repented and came unto God, there would be no more sorrow on all of the face of the earth. He also tells of the joys of repentance when he shares his own conversion story several chapters later.
Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy. (Alma 36:21)
Often times we feel the burden of sin through feelings of guilt, shame, sadness and grief. By breaking God's laws, we are inevitably subject to the pain that comes from disobedience and also to the natural effects of breaking that law. For example, if we steal, we are subject to the natural consequences of the law such as imprisonment, but even if we avoid that law, we are subject to feelings of guilt and shame. But, as we repent, we are promised that we will feel joy that is more exquisite than our pain.
Repentance has several steps: by following them, we can experience lasting peace and forgiveness.
- Recognizing something is wrong- no matter how small or large a problem is, the first step is to realize it is breaking a law of God and is harmful. Whether it be lying or murder, recognition is the first step.
- Stop- stop the behavior: continuing it means that there is no true sorrow for committing the sin. We may make mistakes and sin again, but we must always try to stop the behavior.
- Confess- Confess to God through prayer that you have made a mistake. Ask him for the strength to do better and act on that prayer. Also confess to the people you may have harmed while making those mistakes.
- Make restitution- make it up to the people you hurt. Some wounds are never really able to be healed, but do your best to try to show them that you care and want to be better.
- Acknowledge the Savior and keep the commandments- realize that forgiveness comes because of the Savior’s sacrifice and that through Him we can be clean from our mistakes.
I love you all,