Each young woman will recognize that repentance is a vital part of progress.
Provide paper and pencil for each class member.
Optional: Prepare a large poster of or write on the chalkboard Doctrine and Covenants 18:13. You may want to make a copy of this scripture for each young woman.
Assign young women to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.
If it is available in your area, show “Repentance: It’s Never Too Late,” on Family Home Evening Video Supplement 2 (53277).
Suggested Lesson Development
Give one of the following scripture references to each young woman: Isaiah 1:16–18; Alma 34:33; D&C 58:42–43. Ask them each to read their scripture and then summarize the meaning for the class members.
What do you think the topic of the lesson is today?
Explain that this lesson will discuss the important principle of repentance.
We Need to Repent Each Day
Explain that our purpose for coming to this earth is to grow and progress. But all of us make mistakes in this process of growth and progression, either because we are ignorant or weak, or because we deliberately disobey. Because we make these mistakes, we need to repent. If we fail to repent, we are unable to become more like our Heavenly Father.
Read the following statement: “There is never a day in any man’s life when repentance is not essential to his well-being and eternal progress” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], p. 32).
Explain that unless we have committed a serious transgression, we may think that we do not need to repent. But in reality, we all need to repent daily.
Why is daily repentance essential? What might we do wrong that could require daily repentance?
Have the young women name some of the common human weaknesses that can hurt them as well as others. (Some of them might include gossiping; lying; cheating; stealing; thinking impure thoughts; telling questionable stories; necking or petting; being disrespectful, disobedient, or immodest in words or actions; choosing the wrong kinds of friends; and participating in the wrong kinds of activities.)
How do these weaknesses or sins keep us from progressing to become like our Heavenly Father?
How do they affect our feelings about ourselves?
How do they affect our relationships with others and with the Lord?
Tell the following story:
Janice had always been active in the Church. She had a loving family and good friends, but in recent months she had developed a sullen and negative spirit. She told her parents that her life was dull and regulated too much by the lifestyle of her family. She felt she was old enough to make her own choices, and she wanted to do some of the exciting things she saw other young people doing.
Soon Janice began to come home very late, refusing to tell her family where she had been. She stopped going to church. She was often late to school and sometimes missed her classes entirely.
She was often depressed and would sometimes spend long hours alone in her room. She did not bring any of her new friends to her home and never spoke of them. Smells on her clothing told her family that the things she was doing now were very different from the things she had been taught and had once enjoyed.
What might Janice’s future be if she continues in her negative pattern?
What are the possibilities in her life if she changes?
How will the choices she makes affect her intellectual and spiritual progress?
President Spencer W. Kimball declared: “Since the beginning there has been in the world a wide range of sins. Many of them involve harm to others, but every sin is against ourselves and God, for sins limit our progress, curtail our development, and estrange us from good people, good influences, and from our Lord” (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], p. 174).
Explain that if Janice continues as she is, she will gradually cut herself off from the influence of good people; keep herself from developing to her physical, intellectual, and spiritual potential; and no longer be guided by the Holy Ghost. If she repents, she can renew herself and begin again to progress and develop.
Repentance Brings Peace and Happiness to Our Lives
Explain that our Heavenly Father loves each of us and wants us to be happy. Because he loves us, he has given us the principle of repentance, which helps us overcome our mistakes. When we repent, the atonement of Jesus Christ can work in our lives. When we do not repent, the Lord cannot forgive us.
What we should desire most is to become like the Savior. When we repent, we show that we have this desire. When we repent every day, we gradually perfect ourselves, we find happiness and joy, and we become more like the Savior.
What are the steps we must take in order to repent? Let the young women discuss.
Make sure they realize that a person must recognize that she has sinned, feel genuinely sorry for her sin, confess her sin to the Lord and to anyone she may have wronged, do all she can to correct the wrong things she has done, and then work hard to never commit the sin again.
Explain that because all of us have made mistakes, we have all experienced the unpleasant feelings that mistakes bring. Even small wrongs cause us to feel unhappy. More serious mistakes cause deeper and longer lasting unhappiness. Ask the young women to describe some of the feelings they have had or that they have seen in others as a result of wrongdoing.
List the young women’s responses in a column on the chalkboard and discuss them. (The list might include guilt, depression, hopelessness, unrest, despair, and similar feelings.) Emphasize the idea that we cannot be happy when we are sinning.
Read Alma 41:10.
Explain that all of us have also known the good feelings we get when we repent. Ask the young women to describe some of these feelings. List their ideas in another column on the chalkboard and discuss them. (They may include peace, happiness, relief, contentment, joy, cheerfulness, calm, and similar feelings.)
Ask the young women to consider the differences between the words in the two lists on the chalkboard and decide which types of feelings they would rather have. Explain that repentance is a key to joy and peace in their lives.
Explain that the Church leaders have taught us important lessons about repentance. As time allows, read and discuss the following statements:
“The heaviest burden that one has to bear in this life is the burden of sin” (Harold B. Lee, in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, p. 177; or Ensign, July 1973, p. 122).
“Repentance is ever the key to a better, happier life. … When souls are reborn, when lives are changed—then comes the great miracle to beautify and warm and lift. When spiritual death has threatened and now instead there is resuscitation, when life pushes out death—when this happens it is the miracle of miracles” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 28, 362).
“Few gifts are more desirable than a clear conscience—a soul at peace with itself. Only the power of our Savior Jesus Christ can heal a troubled soul” (J. Richard Clarke, “Confession,” New Era, Nov. 1980, p. 4).
“It is through repentance that the Lord Jesus Christ can work his healing miracle, infusing us with strength when we are weak, health when we are sick, hope when we are downhearted, love when we feel empty, understanding when we search for truth” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Give the Lord Your Loyalty,” Ensign, Mar. 1980, p. 4).
Scripture and handout
Display the poster of Doctrine and Covenants 18:13, and have the young women read the verse. Give the young women the copies you have made of the scripture. Ask them to put their copies where they can see them often as a reminder that repentance brings peace and joy here and eternal life hereafter.
Ask each young woman to strive to establish a habit of daily repentance. This might include thinking through the events of the day, making things right with others if needed, and asking for forgiveness and guidance through prayer.
Distribute paper and pencil to class members. Ask each young woman to think of something she would like to change in her thoughts or behavior. Have her write down what she will do to change her attitudes and actions. Ask her to put this commitment where she can be reminded of it in the upcoming weeks.