Leave Your Garbage in the Dump

Sometimes repenting is the easy part; believing you’re forgiven is what’s difficult.

Photo by Josh Applegate

Think about your garbage can. No, seriously. What’s in it? How does it smell? What do you use it for? If you’re anything like me, right now it might contain spoiled leftovers, empty cans and bottles, and a whole lot of junk mail, among other things. 

In his 2006 general conference address “The Atonement Can Clean, Reclaim, and Sanctify Our Lives,” Elder Shayne M. Bowen compares our past sins to the garbage in our lives. The gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is like a sanitary landfill where, through a transformative process (repentance), something that was once full of the unwanted trash of life can be reclaimed and turned into something beautiful and useful.

But sometimes repenting is the easy part; believing you’re forgiven is what’s difficult. Yet, what good does it do us when, unable to forget the past or move on from our guilt, we find ourselves digging through the garbage of our former lives? When we utilize the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we become something more beautiful and more useful to our Heavenly Father, to our fellow brothers and sisters, and to ourselves.

As Elder Bowen explains about repentance, “When we gratefully accept and use this precious gift, we can enjoy the beauty and usefulness of our lives that God has reclaimed through His infinite love and the Atonement of His Son and our brother, Jesus Christ.” The Atonement of Jesus Christ is beautiful because with it, we aren’t just forgiven; we are changed. 

Read more about accepting forgiveness in Elder Shayne M. Bowen’s full talk “The Atonement Can Clean, Reclaim, and Sanctify Our Lives.”

Source: ChurchofJesusChrist.org

—Sarah Jensen, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

Watch the inspirational message “Reclaimed” based on Elder Shayne’s talk.

Read more about the power of Jesus Christ’s Atonement in “No Scars Remain” by Natasha Andersen.

Listen to “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness” by Elder Boyd K. Packer for more insight into the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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