This is Part 3 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.
One of the greatest obstacles I had with repentance is feeling “unworthy” because of backsliding. With some sins I was able to repent and wasn’t troubled thereafter, with other sins I struggled. At times I felt the Lord must have been worn out with me. He knew how many times I had tried and failed in my efforts to keep some of His commandments. It went something like this: I would knee before the Lord and say, “I am going to repent of (fill in the blank)”. I would then exercise my will power; I would do well for a period of time, only to end up backsliding. After doing this numerous times I realized repentance wasn’t always easy. I was embarrassed, and thought for sure the Lord considered me a loser.
This kind of thinking led to two kinds of behavior:
1. I would give up trying to repent, thinking I wasn’t celestial material.
2. I would give up trying to repent, and then binge in the sin I’d hope to repent of.
This kind of “repentance” plays into satan’s plan. He is at his best when we’re discouraged and discomforted.
So what does one do when seeking to repent of a sin(s) that just won’t yield to the standard ways of repentance?
First, it’s important to remember, repentance isn’t like baseball—three strikes and you’re out. Repentance is like soap, it is needed often, and is necessary as long as we live.
Second, any progress we make in conquering the natural man or woman is pleasing to God.
Third, and most important, the Lord has said: “…if he…repenteth in the sincerity of his heart I will forgive him…Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me.” Mosiah 26:29 – 30
From what I’ve learned about the Lord, when we sincerely seek to repent, and then backslide, the Lord will forgive our trespasses (back sliding) as often as needed.
The Lord gave His life so that each of us could have access to the gift of repentance. What could I possibility write, that would put into perspective the magnitude of the blessing that is ours to have access to a gift that required the Son of God to die?
I hope each time we partake of the sacrament we will be able fathom, to some degree; just how high the cost was that caused the Savior to bleed at every pore. Why would He be willing to pay such a price? The answer is: He loves us.
My experience with repentance taught me that with persistence we can make progress in overcoming the carnal, sensual, and devilish natures we inherit because of our flesh. Each person’s journey may vary on the path of repentance, but the destination is the same—peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come.
Some sins require confession, and even professional help. I’ll touch on this topic in Pt 4.