Recently a good and faithful woman I know was seriously injured in a car accident. Included in her injuries were broken ribs and broken vertebrae. Part of her rehabilitation required that she wear a brace on her back and neck so she couldn’t move them. The brace looked very uncomfortable. But it was necessary. It provided the condition through which her back and her neck could heal.
Repentance is like that brace. When we sin, we injure our soul, and divine treatment is needed to make us whole again. Repentance provides the condition that allows the Savior, through the power of the Atonement, to heal us (see 3 Nephi 9:13). If some part of repentance is not comfortable—like a brace on a broken back—we need to repent anyway.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “True repentance brings us back to doing what is right. To truly repent we must recognize our sins and feel remorse, or godly sorrow, and confess those sins to God. If our sins are serious, we must also confess them to our authorized priesthood leader. We need to ask God for forgiveness and do all we can to correct whatever harm our actions may have caused. Repentance means a change of mind and heart—we stop doing things that are wrong, and we start doing things that are right. It brings us a fresh attitude toward God, oneself, and life in general.”1
When we successfully complete the repentance process, the result is healing, relief, and happiness. Dorothy J. R. White wrote:
Consider tears that fall on the outside,
Yet wash the inside clean.2
The Lord pleads with insistence, love, and persuasion that we repent, because He wants to heal us. He suffered in His body and spirit to pay the penalty for our sins if we repent. He explains:
“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
“Wherefore, I command you again to repent” (D&C 19:16–20).
May we repent now, turn to the Lord, and be healed.