Chapter 14: Repentance

"Chapter 14: Repentance," Part Five: The Gospel of Jesus Christ, ()


Doing wrong things makes us sad. How can we become happy again after we have done something wrong?

Our Father in Heaven Planned a Way for Us to Overcome Sin

Our Father in Heaven knew that all of us would do wrong things on earth. The wrong things we do are sins. We sin when we do the things God has told us not to do. We also sin when we do not do the things God has told us to do.

Our Father in Heaven does not sin, and He does not allow people who sin to live with Him. To live with Him we must repent of our sins. To repent means to feel sorry for our sins and stop doing them.

Our Father in Heaven loves us. He does not want our sins to keep us from going back to Him. So He planned a way to help us.

Our Father in Heaven sent Jesus to help us to repent of our sins. Jesus teaches us the things that we should do to avoid sin. He also gives us strength to do these things. When we believe in Him and follow Him, He changes our hearts so we do not even want to sin, but want only to do good. If we do not want to suffer for our sins, we must believe in Jesus. Those who truly believe in Jesus repent of their sins.

When we believe in Jesus and repent, the suffering of Jesus pays for our sins and we become cleansed. We are able to return to live with our Father in Heaven because we are clean.

Discussion

  • What does it mean to repent?

  • Why does our Father in Heaven want us to repent of our sins?

  • Why is it that those who truly have faith in Jesus repent of their sins?

Our Father in Heaven Has Told Us What We Need to Do to Repent

To repent, we must believe in Jesus and the things He taught. We must believe He suffered for our sins. We must believe that only He could pay for our sins. We must believe that He wants us to overcome our sins and that He will help us do this. We must work hard to do what He commands us to do.

When we repent, we let Jesus change us to be the way He wants us to be. We stop doing wrong things and start doing right things. If we have said things that are not true, we stop and say only things that are true. If we have stolen something, we return it to its owner and never steal anything again. If we have been unkind to others, we stop and do kind things for them.

When we repent we do the following things:

We admit to ourselves that we have sinned. We know that we are sinning when we are not obeying our Father in Heaven. When we repent, we do not make excuses for doing wrong things. We admit that we have done wrong, and we want to change.

We feel sorry for the wrong things we have done. When we repent, we feel sincerely sad for doing wrong things. We do not just say that we are sorry for our sins. We truly feel sorry for doing them and wish we had not done them. We also want to do what our Father in Heaven commands us to do.

We stop doing wrong things. If we only admit to ourselves that we have sinned, and if we only say that we feel sorry, we have not truly repented. To repent truly, we must also stop doing the wrong things. Sometimes it is not easy to stop, but Jesus came to earth to give us the help we need. Our Father in Heaven wants us to let Jesus help us because that is the only way we can become perfected and return to live with God.

We confess our sins. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to confess means to tell our Father in Heaven and a Church leader what we have done wrong. Some sins we commit affect only ourselves. When we pray to our Father in Heaven, we should tell Him about these sins and ask Him to forgive us and help us overcome them. If our sin affects another person, we should confess it to that person and to God. We should confess very bad sins, such as adultery, to our Church leader, who may be our bishop* or our branch* president.

We do what we can to make right what we have done wrong. When we repent, we correct the bad things we have done. For example, if we have stolen from a neighbor, we give back the thing we have taken. If we do not have the thing we took anymore, we replace it or pay for it.

We forgive the sins of others. Our Father in Heaven has commanded us to forgive others. If we want Him to forgive us, we must forgive others. If we hate other people because of the wrong things they have done and we do not forgive them, our Father in Heaven will not forgive us for our sins.

We sincerely try to obey all the commandments of Jesus all our lives. We continue to change what we do wrong until we do the right things. We do what we can every day to correct the bad things we do.

We must repent whenever we have done something wrong. We may think repenting right now is difficult. We may think repenting will be easier later, but it will not. Repenting becomes harder when we wait to do it. Waiting to repent also holds us back spiritually, because Jesus cannot help us learn more about our Father in Heaven and prepare to live with our Father in Heaven if we don’t repent of the wrong things we do. Whenever we realize that we are doing wrong things, we should repent immediately.

Discussion

  • What do we need to do to repent?

Each of Us Can Repent

Each of us can repent. Sometimes repentance may seem too difficult for us. We may feel we will never be able to overcome our weaknesses. Satan wants us to believe this so we will keep doing wrong things. We must remember that we can repent. We cannot do it by ourselves. We need help. Each of us is a child of our Father in Heaven, and He has sent Jesus to help us. With Jesus’ help we can do all the things our Father in Heaven has commanded us to do.

Jesus will help us to repent if we pray to our Father in Heaven for Jesus’ help. He and our Father in Heaven want us to do right things. They do not like the wrong things we do. But They still love us, even when we do wrong things. They want us to repent so our Father in Heaven can forgive us and we can be happy.

Discussion

  • Why should we repent even when repenting seems difficult?

  • Who will help us repent?

Our Father in Heaven Rewards Us When We Repent

When we place our faith in Jesus and repent, our Father in Heaven forgives us completely. We do not have to worry about being punished for them. Not only does He forgive us; He also gives us help so that we no longer even want to sin but to do only good things always. Jesus gives us this help.

We should remember that we will not become like our Father in Heaven all at once. But as we continue to have faith in Jesus and repent of our sins and work to obey Jesus, our Father in Heaven continues to forgive our sins. Jesus continues to help us. We become more and more like our Father in Heaven. Eventually, we can return to live with our Father in Heaven.

When we repent, we feel happy. We are not sad for the wrong things we have done, but we feel happy because we have overcome our weaknesses with the help of Jesus. We know then that we have power to resist temptations and do the right things.

Discussion

  • What rewards do we receive when we repent?

References

Our Father in Heaven Planned a Way for Us to Overcome Sin

  • James 4:17 (To sin is to do what God has told us not to do.)

  • 1 John 1:8 (If we say we have not sinned, we are not telling the truth.)

  • 1 John 5:17 (To do anything unrighteous is to sin.)

Our Father in Heaven Has Told Us What We Need to Do to Repent

Each of Us Can Repent

  • 1 Nephi 3:7 (Our Father in Heaven never asks us to do things that are impossible for us to do.)

  • Alma 42:29–30 (We should not make excuses for our sins.)

Our Father in Heaven Rewards Us When We Repent