We should not feel ashamed, scared, or angry about repenting. Repentance is an opportunity to heal, grow, and understand God’s love for us.
When I was serving as a missionary, my mission president would always enthusiastically say, “Repentance is cool!” I thought it sounded cheesy, but it was true. It was cool that I got a new chance every day to try to be a little better. I could pray more sincerely, manage my time a little better, go to bed a little earlier: all small and simple things.
Since then, however, I have made mistakes that have felt heavier. I’ve felt distant from God, ashamed of myself, angry with rules I didn’t understand or didn’t feel like keeping, and scared to repent.
In his talk “Repent…That I May Heal You,” Elder Neil L. Andersen explains, “The invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement but rather a loving appeal to turn around and to ‘re-turn’ toward God.”
Elder Andersen teaches that God asks us to repent so he can encircle us in his “arms of mercy, arms of safety.” Our heavenly parents want us to repent because they hurt when we hurt. They created repentance to be a source of healing, not a punishment. Christ forgives us quickly and completely because he has a perfect understanding of how hard it is to be human.
It’s hard to change, and it takes time and effort, but we shouldn’t be ashamed to seek help and to repent when we need to. Friends, family, church leaders, and Christ will be there to support us as we try to be better. Repentance isn’t just cool; it is growth, it is healing, it is learning—it is love.
Learn more about repentance in Elder Neil L. Andersen’s full talk “Repent…That I May Heal You.”
Source: General Conference
—Abbi Clark, Latter-day Saint Insights
FEATURE IMAGE BY JAMES CAMPEIS
Find more insights
Read Stephen W. Owen’s talk “Repentance Is Always Positive” for more insights on repentance.
Read about how repentance can make us happy in Tyler Garrett’s article “Choose Joy–Choose Repentance.”