Existence and Repentance

The walls of a church don’t make it holy.
It’s what’s authentic that completes the sum of its parts.
Don’t excuse yourself from life today on the pretense of your past.

You’re hurt. You’re broken. That’s alright.
This might be what it takes to wake you up.

“Existence”, by August Burns Red

Making mistakes is inevitable. God does not expect us to be perfect. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to Atone for our sins, allowing us to repent. A negative connotation is often placed upon repentance. Sometimes it’s viewed as a punishment, but this is not so. The original Hebrew word that was later translated into what we now know as “repentance” included the root verb shuv, which means “to return”.

Repentance is not at all punishment, but is a process of turning one’s self around and coming back to God. Of course, it does include sorrow, but that sorrow should be godly sorrow. Paul, as usual, gives us some good insights…

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (1 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Paul says that godly sorrow worketh repentance, which leads to salvation. Being broken down, being hurt, being grieved, are actually good things, when we take them in the right light. Feeling sorry for yourself, or feeling sorry because you got caught, etc., are not ways in which we feel godly sorrow. Godly sorrow involves having a desire to change ourselves, to turn ourselves around, change our ways, change our mindset, and change our hearts.

Through these ways, repentance is not a punishment, but is a joyous opportunity to come closer to God and to our Savior.

In the Book of Mormon, there was a young man named Alma, who went about trying to destroy Christ’s church, spreading lies in order to get people to sin. He was struck down by an angel and for three days seemed to be dead. When he regained his strength, he proclaimed that he had been forgiven of his sins. It was a difficult process, because of the evils that he had done, but repentance brought him indescribable joy. I invite you to read his account that he gave to his son,

Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.

And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.

And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!

Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand, there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy. (Alma 36: 18-21)

I know that daily repentance is necessary if we desire to become close with God and Jesus Christ. But it is not punishment. It is not a chore. I am grateful that I can repent. I know that repentance is a blessing to us. If you’re hurt, if you’re broken, that’s alright. That’s often what it takes to wake us up.

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