Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Repent every day? I'm not THAT bad: A Guest Post by Sister Yates

What's all this talk about "Repent every day?"

Don't get offended by this common Mormon term.  It doesn't mean you're a sinner, sinful, awful person.  It simply means that we are all imperfect and need to change.

To clarify, repentance is:
 "...a change of mind, a fresh view about God, about oneself, and about the world. Since we are born into conditions of mortality, repentance comes to mean a turning of the heart and will to God, and a renunciation of sin to which we are naturally inclined. Without this there can be no progress in the things of the soul’s salvation, for all accountable persons are stained by sin and must be cleansed in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Repentance is not optional for salvation; it is a commandment of God." (Repentance, Bible Dictionary)

As it says in the Bible Dictionary, repentance is a change of heart, opinion, life direction, etc.  It doesn't just mean you stop sinning.  Repentance is encouraged each day so we can continually be close to God, and the Holy Ghost so we can receive the guidance and direction needed to return to Heavenly Father.

Ask yourself: Am I someone the Holy Ghost can be around? Is there anything in my daily conduct that needs some improvement? With these questions in mind, don't be overly hard on yourself.  We all, no matter how long we've been Mormon, have room to improve on this.  We are not perfect, but the Lord has asked that we strive for perfection, and the only way we can even begin to achieve that is through repentance.

You may be wondering, "What do I need to repent of?" The world we live in is full of unclean things. We are told in Alma 11:37, "no unclean thing can live in the presence of God."  Therefore, we need to be mindful of things such as:
-Worldly Entertainment: "Would Christ feel comfortable with this music/TV show/ movie, etc.?"
-Vulgar Language: "Would I say that if Christ were in the room?"
-Gossip: "Would the Lord ever say that about any of His children?"
-Anger: "Would this situation be something God becomes angry about?"

These are just a few examples of everyday struggles and unclean things that we, as imperfect humans, need to over come.   

How do I repent?

There is a very nice, step by step process to repentance found in "True to the Faith" starting on page 133 (if you don't have this book, buy it!  It will help you so much!).  I will summarize:

First- You must have faith in God and Jesus Christ.  Why would you ask forgiveness of someone you don't believe can A) forgive you, or B) exists?  Faith if the first ordinance or the gospel, for this reason.

Second- You must feel truly sorrowful for what you have done.

Third- You must confess your sins either to the bishop (usually that's when you commit a BIG sin usually relating to the Law of Chastity... more on that later), or just to God at the end of the day when you realize and feel guilt over something you've done wrong.

Fourth- You must "forsake" or abandon your sin.  Never do it again!  Why would you ask to be forgiven of something you know you'll do again tomorrow?  It's just not sensible.

Fifth- You must make restitution, which means you need to apologize to anyone you may have hurt while you were committing this unclean or sinful thing, whatever your vice may be.

Sixth- Forgive yourself and live righteously.  Righteous living is the key to happiness, brothers and sisters.  God is a God of happiness, and repentance is worth it.  You will find more joy and happiness, and learn to feel the love of God as you repent, forsake, and forgive yourself and allow God to forgive you for your short comings.  We are not perfect.  God knows that; He loves us no matter what, and is always there for us. 

Brothers and Sisters, be accountable.  Tell the Lord the truth, and ask for His guidance and help in overcoming your weaknesses.  We are told in Ether 12:27 that "I will give unto men weakness..."  We are given these weaknesses so we can access the Atonement, allow Christ to help us overcome our trials and short comings, and return to God.  I can promise, as one who has been through this process more than once... that it is always worth it, and God is always there to help us return to His presence.

I leave these things with you, and pray that they may be helpful to you, in the name of Jesus Christ,

Love, Sister Yates