All too often we associate repentance with negative feelings. It isn’t too hard to make that correlation because if often comes after we acknowledge that we have done something wrong. In a talk this morning a missionary said “Don’t think of repentance as a bad thing”, but as an opportunity for growth. An opportunity to improve ourselves and become better. While we have a hard time seeing repentance a good light, it is the first step to us becoming a better person.
I learned the ABCD of repentance earlier in life:
Acknowledge I did something wrong – This is a hard step, and often where the painful and negative feelings come from.
Be sorry – Once we realize something is amiss, and we require change we feel sorrow. Those feelings should drive us to change as we hope to return to the good feelings of the Spirit.
Confess – We admit to ourselves, to Heavenly Father in prayer, and to our church leaders if necessary (in our Church those leaders are called a Bishop).
Don’t return to that sin or decision – This is the most important step in the process, and often the hardest. Even harder than admitting that we did something wrong. This is where we grow. Stepping away from something that drags us down will make us bigger and better. I firmly believe that we are either in a state of growth or decline. There is no state of “meh” or “cruise control.” If we feel that we are in that state, we are mostly likely in decline and don’t realize it.
With any situation or experience in life we get to choose how we will react. We do not always have the luxury of the ability to be proactive. When we have something fall into our laps, we must know what we believe. We must know what really matters most to us, so we know our decision before we are presented with the crossroads of decision.
This concept was presented to me as a youth many times. Decide you will not do something before you find yourself in the situation. I always thought this silly, because in my teenage mind I was completely confident I could make good choices. I found that just because I can doesn’t mean that I always will. We are all human and even when we feel confident we are still vulnerable to making mistakes.
This life is one of opportunities to learn through experience. I have learned that I must be more diligent in decision-making. I correlate this with my ABDL side in the effort to keep everything “in moderation” or within bounds that help maintain a well-rounded lifestyle. I am learning what those new boundaries are, and at times I ask for help and forgiveness as I search for that line. It is a moving target as my life and my family’s life evolves. Every day is something new, and we must rely on the foundation we establish for ourselves and our families to weather the storms that come.