Have you ever had one of these thoughts:
“Oh no, I made the same mistake again! How could I be so weak?”
“I’m terrible. I’m worthless.”
“I’ve sinned too much for God to forgive and help me now.”
When we’ve done something wrong, thoughts like these can make repentance feel almost impossible. But it’s important to remember that this isn’t true, no matter how strong these feelings may be.
Heavenly Father never intended for repentance to feel so discouraging that it makes us feel like giving up. He sees repentance as a way for us to be close to Him. Repentance may be difficult at times, but remember what Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “The very beauty of the word repentance is the promise of escaping old problems and old habits and old sorrows and old sins. It is among the most hopeful and encouraging—and yes, most peaceful—words in the gospel vocabulary.”1
And Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “When we repent, we turn back toward God.”2Here are four ways we can remember to repent and enjoy the blessings that come as we TURN toward God:
T: Thank Heavenly Father for repentance. Elder Holland has taught: “Repentance is simply the scriptural invitation for growth and improvement and progress and renewal. You can change!”3 This change is possible through Jesus Christ. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught, “Repentance is not only possible but also joyful because of our Savior.”4 We should always thank Heavenly Father for His Son and the opportunity to repent and become better.
U: Understand what needs improvement. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said: “Think about how you’re doing right now in keeping the commandments of God. Do you see something in your life that is less than what you want it to be? Are you struggling with some habit or behavior that is not in harmony with the plan of salvation? … If you know of things in your life that you do not like, ask your Heavenly Father for help and you will find the inner strength to change.”5
R: Remember the Savior Jesus Christ. Repentance and forgiveness are available only through the Savior, so it’s important to keep Him in our thoughts. One important way we do this is taking the sacrament, where we promise to “always remember him” (D&C 20:77, 79).
N: Notice what Heavenly Father is doing to help you. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught: “At the end of our day, we kneel again and report back to our Father. We review the events of the day and express heartfelt thanks for the blessings and the help we received. We repent and, with the assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, identify ways we can do and become better tomorrow.”6
Heavenly Father sent His Son to atone for our sins so we can repent and be forgiven. Turning to God brings love, joy, and peace.