So it is when we have sin in our lives. In some cases we can resolve matters on our own by making minor corrections to the course of our lives. But unresolved sin will cause pain and suffering. For serious sins we need the help of a Bishop or Stake President to get to the deeper underlying issues that we cannot resolve on our own. We are always in desperate need of the Great Physician, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Through proper use of the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be made whole again. Our appointed judges are there to nurture us back to good standing before our Heavenly Father.
As we consider the important principles of repentance, it is important to highlight the necessity of full and complete repentance in order to claim the blessings of the Atonement of the Saviour in our lives. We need to make the commitment and put in the hard work it takes to be clean and whole again even though Satan will do his utmost to derail our efforts and have us believe his lies.
The first principle of repentance is to acknowledge and admit that there has been wrongdoing. Without this very important step, there is denial and justification. Alma taught his son, Corianton, this very important principle. He said; “Do not endeavour to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins” [Alma 42:29&30]. The Saviour taught, “Ye are they which justify yourselves before men, but God knoweth your hearts” [Luke 16:15].
The second principle is to feel true godly sorrow for the sin, for it is Him whom you have offended. Many feel a worldly sorrow, worrying more about what others will think or say about them. In 2 Corinthians 7: 9-11 Paul highlights the importance of humbling ourselves before our Father in Heaven.
The fourth principle is often overlooked. Many think that they can resolve their sins on their own. We have been blessed with judges to help us when we repent. They allow us the opportunity to confess our sins to bring closure and gain a deeper understanding of the seriousness of the sin. In D&C 61:2 we are reminded how the Lord is merciful to those who confess their sins. When we confess the burden is lifted, and we find relief and allow our Bishop to help us work our way to happiness. They do not offer repentance. Rather they determine how repentant we really are. Neither do they offer forgiveness, as this was done a long time ago when our Saviour took upon Himself our pain, suffering and sin.
The fifth principle highlights the importance of making every effort to make restitution or right the wrong. When we repent we need to return the item we stole, apologize to the person we wronged, and we need to make every effort to restore the damage we inflicted. It is especially clear how much we need the atonement as we realize that there are some things we can never restore or repair on our own. Only the law of compensation through the Saviour’s atonement can completely help us to make restitution.
The seventh principle is difficult because the natural man is an enemy to God. This principle is what invites the calming, cleansing, and sanctifying effect of the Holy Ghost to take full effect in our lives as we walk in faith and keep all the commandments. When we fully and completely repent, we show by a Godly talk, and a Godly walk that we have become new. I have seen how some repent of a sin, but injure themselves by committing other sins, making a mockery of the atonement of Jesus Christ. To complete the repentance process, we walk in faith and avoid wrongdoing at all cost. A promised blessing of living the commandments gives us hope of forgiveness from a loving Father in Heaven (D&C 1:32).
I testify of the reality of the blessings of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I testify that He lives and that only through full and complete repentance can we walk the straight and narrow to enjoy true happiness. By keeping our sights set firmly on the Great Physician we can have hope to receive forgiveness from our Father in Heaven.