What is repentance? To repent is to turn, to change, to re-evaluate, and to recommit.
Elder Todd D. Chrisofferson taught: “Repentance is a divine gift, and there should be a smile on our faces when we speak of it. It points us to freedom, confidence, and peace. Rather than interrupting the celebration, the gift of repentance is the cause for true celebration.” (The Divine Gift of Repentance, Ensign, November 2011, 38)
“The fact that the word exists in scripture at all brings hope since without the possibility of repentance, all would be lost.” (John Bytheway, Sermons in a Sentence)
We have a CD by John Bytheway…well we actually have MANY, but one that we enjoy is titled “What’s in Your Backpack?” I decided that it was important to talk about the process of Repentance, and WHY we should repent, and that how carrying burdensome “sin” around in our backpacks can slow down our spiritual progression.
I had my two sons go outside and bring in a lot of big rocks. I found an old backpack. I had my strapping, young 14-yr old put the pack on. (This fit in so well because he just returned from a 3-day backpacking trip to Southern Utah, where he WAAAYYY over-packed and had so much stuff that it was quite hard for him…he even came home with bruised shoulders!)
ANYWAYS, he put the pack on. Then, we started out with a little 5-finger discount action–which we then added a rock. THEN, in order to cover the theft, a little lie had to be told — another rock. Then, a trip in a car with friends who chose to drink and drive…. well, you get the picture. With each sin, a rock was added. By the time we were done, he could hardly walk. It was actually causing him “pain!” This was perfect. Just the effect I wanted!
We then talked about how important it is to repent. Could he go serve a 2-yr mission carrying around all that weight of sin? Could someone go to the temple with all that extra weight? Could someone truly be happy with all that weight? Of course the answer was NO to all of those questions.
We then talked about the steps of repentance:
We must recognize that we have sinned…
We must feel Sorrow — The other day, I left the hot lawn mower by the sand pile while I ran into the house for a moment. In the meantime, my little 5-yr old was standing on the edge of the sandpile and he fell over backwards and burned the back of his leg quite badly. Of course, I felt just horribly about the whole thing. I was sick that my careless actions caused my little 5-yr old serious pain. I compared that to Godly sorrow over just regret that we got caught. When we realize that what we have done has caused our Saviour to suffer, and we feel terrible and don’t want to ever do it again, that is Godly sorrow….
We must Forsake our sins….This means to STOP our sin….
We must Confess our sins….
We must make Restitution…..Recommitting ourselves to NEVER do that sin again, and truly meaning it.
We must Forgive others….
All in all, it turned out surprising quite well. The kids listened and everyone enjoyed taking their turn with the pack and even more so, enjoyed taking it off! Which is what repentance truly is about. The joy of forsaking our sins.
Now, this next part is going to show my age! One of my kids said, “Well, what if Satan’s plan had been chosen? Would we even had to worry about sin and repentance?” Then this song popped into my head and I started singing it! FORTUNATELY for you all, I FOUND IT ON YOUTUBE!!! So, you don’t have to listen to ME sing it, but you get to listen to this really fun 70s song! (My kids have been listening to it all night, and I think my husband thinks I have flipped out, but it REALLY hit the ball home when they asked that question!
It’s interesting to me how much Satan’s plan sounds like someone else’s plan right now…. BUT, I’ll save that political rant for another time!
I am so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven, who provided a Saviour for us…. that atoned for my sins… who makes it possible to unload my backpack of sins.
I hope you have a good one!