Sunday, March 27, 2016

Repentance is Possible, and then Forgiveness is Certain

Happy Easter, friends! :D

My son, Levi gave a wonderful talk in sacrament today about the Atonement. It was the PERFECT Easter talk! What could compliment the topic of the Resurrection more than the topic of His Atoning sacrifice to save us? :) I learned so much about the power of repentance and a gained a greater testimony of the process. (Way to go, Dallin H Oaks, and Levi! ;D) Today, I am FILLED with gratitude and awe, that He lived and died and was resurrected for you and for me.

All the talks were wonderful. But I'd like to share some things which were said in this talk that really stood out to me (after a bit of background)...

Recently, I have gone through a very painful acknowledgment of my own shortcomings in a particular area. It was strange. I was asked to speak on Charity in the Wallace branch a couple weeks ago. As I studied the topic from MANY conference talks and scriptures in preparation to speak, I repeatedly found myself PRAYING for charity. PLEADING with the Lord for charity.

Just after giving the talk, something happened. Another person did things that I didn't appreciate. The straw broke the camel's back. I was the camel. I reacted.

At first, I justified my reactions as I focused on what the other person did wrong. But soon thoughts and feelings began creeping in... All that I studied about charity came back to my mind in frequent intervals. No matter how “justified” I previously believed my reactions to be, I began to clearly realize that they were no more condoned by the Lord than the actions that provoked them.

For the next week all I could do was remember my own reactions/(actions, words, thoughts, feelings) and then scriptural quotes of how charity responds. Sadly, they didn't coincide.

 45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
 47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him. (Moroni 7)

 1 Corinthians 13:44 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up

Elder Marvin J. Ashton

“Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of being [critical or verbally abusive] repulsive.
“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 24; or Ensign, May 1992, 18–19).

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

“Stated simply, charity means subordinating our interests and needs to those of others, as the Savior has done for all of us. The Apostle Paul wrote that of faith, hope, and charity, ‘the greatest of these is charity’ (1 Corinthians 13:13), and Moroni wrote that ‘except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God’ (Moroni 10:21). I believe that selfless service is a distinctive part of the gospel” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 20; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 16).

This was a painful experience (and is not all together over). I wished I had been more selfless and patient. More kind. Expected the best more. Been less judgmental... And not so easily provoked.

I imagined what I wish I had done instead of what I did. I prayed to know what was the appropriate response, and that I might KNOW it so well that what is RIGHT and kind and good, could become my natural response if anything similar might occur in the future. I still pray for that... PLEAD for that! I learned from the Holy Spirit, that I needed to work on the root of the reactions – on my heart and the feelings they held...

I began repenting. I knew that I was suffering the pains of repentance; I could feel it... It wasn't fun. When I would mention to others of my repentant feelings, they would often justify what I had done and try to convince me that I had done nothing wrong. But I knew I was wrong... I needed more charity. I DID have something to repent of, and I was going to keep on believing it and keep on repenting. I needed a new heart; and I couldn't have it without admitting my need to improve, or suffering the pains of regret for my heart not being what I wanted it to be...

Today, I heard from the pulpit the words that confirmed what I was going through. He was quoting Elder Dallin H. Oaks from his talk, “The Atonement and Faith”...

Elder Oaks quotes Alma 34:16, and states his interpretation... that the unrepentant transgressor must suffer for his own sins; AND that those who do repent WILL experience SOME suffering, “but because of their repentance and the Atonement, they will not experience the FULL, EXQUISITE EXTENT of eternal torment the Savior suffered for those sins.” Elder Oaks goes on to quote President Spencer W. Kimball; “One has not begun to repent until he has suffered intensely for his sins. ...If a person hasn't suffered, he hasn't repented.”

I knew immediately when I heard this that the suffering I have been going through is the beautiful suffering of repentance. :)

Elder Oaks continues...

The Savior taught this principle when He said His atoning sacrifice was for 'all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.' (2 Nephi 2:7) The truly repentant sinner who comes to Christ with a broken heart and a contrite spirit has been through a process of personal pain and suffering for sin. He or she understands the meaning of Alma's statement that none but the truly penitent are saved. Alma the Younger certainly understood this. Read his accounts in Mosiah 27 and in Alma 36.”

So much more was said about the Atonement. It was a truly enlightening talk! (For more information about the power of the Atonement, you can read the entire article Levi based this talk off of here.)

I want to bear my personal testimony that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is REAL. That it WORKS! And because of it, we can be, not only forgiven of our sins, but also, strengthened and made able to be more than we are capable of on our own. I bear testimony of this! I know it is true! In the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen...

Corine Moore :)