This is Part 4 in a series of articles on repentance. They are based on my experiences. I am writing with the hope that others who are seeking the Lord will find something meaningful to aid them in their journey towards obtaining a remission of their sins.
I know something about the process of repentance because I’ve utilized it many times. With that said I would like to share with you a few things that I’ve learned along the way.
The Lord has made it clear what needs to be done in order to repent, and part of the process of repentance is confessing our sins (Mosiah 26:34-36). I found that confessing sins to the Lord is one thing, but confessing sins to another person was very difficult for me.
Forgiveness of sins is possible because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The scriptures teach that in order to obtain this gift of the atonement we must make changes. Whatever it is that we’re doing or have done that constitutes sin needs to be dealt with in the Lord’s way. And for some sins confession with our Bishop is a necessary part of the repentance process.
Following are a few general ideas that helped me:
First, you haven’t done anything that the Savior hasn’t already helped others repent of. In others words, He won’t be surprised or shocked by your sins, no matter how you might feel about them.
Second, the Savior is perfect, He doesn’t make mistakes. Whatever He requires of you to complete your repentance is for your own benefit. Have faith in your Savior and the wisdom He possesses. If you are guilty of sin that can be additive, like internet pornography, then you may need to seek out the help of a qualified professional.
Third, if you need to confess to your Bishop, do so even if you’re embarrassed. Don’t let your repentance become complicated because you’re afraid to tell your Bishop the details of your sin(s). And please, don’t fall into the trap of a partial confession. This happens when you hold back some important part of your confession. Later, after you leave the Bishops office, you realize you weren’t completely forthright. What do you do now? My advice is to see the Bishop again, as soon as possible, and finish what you started.
Fourth, don’t allow discouragement to gain a hold of you. If you have set backs then just get right back up and do what needs to be done.
Fifth, spend time with the Savior, your advocate who knoweth the weakness of man and how to succor them who are tempted (D&C 62:1).
Next, Learning the Lord’s ways Part 5.