Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How Do I Know When I Am Forgiven?

 Even though my youth is far, far behind me, I enjoy and learn a lot from The New Era, the magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the youth. 

Tonight I read How Do I Know When I Am Forgiven? 

I found this passage very comforting and hopeful: 
 “If you feel the Spirit—when you pray, read the scriptures, teach, testify, or at any other time—then that is your witness that you have been forgiven or, alternatively, that the cleansing process is taking place, for the Spirit cannot dwell in an unholy tabernacle” (see Alma 7:21)

That almost makes me want to weep for joy.  For while it is certainly not a constant thing, I do sometimes feel the Spirit .  There may be hope for me.

On the other hand, the closing paragraph gives me some cause for concern:
In the meantime, until that final drop of guilt is removed, if we feel the Lord’s Spirit we can proceed with confidence that we have been cleansed or that the cleansing process is working its divine miracle in our life. The promise is certain—if we do our best to repent, we will be cleansed of our sins and our guilt will eventually be swept away, because the Savior’s Atonement descended not only below our sins but also our guilt. Then we will be at perfect peace with ourselves and with God.

The catch being that phrase "if we do our best to repent".  Do our best?  That good old Cub Scout motto.  It's a good one.  But.  I try.  I try really hard sometimes.  But do my best? 
Do I ever, have I ever really done my best?   I am always certain I could have, should have done better. 

There seem to be two conditions that will free us from all guilt and pain. First is our unwavering faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. When Enos asked how his guilt was “swept away” (see Enos 1:6–7), the Lord responded, “Because of thy faith in Christ” (Enos 1:8). Accordingly, the more we learn about the Atonement and exercise faith in Christ’s healing powers, the greater our ability to be forgiven and to forgive ourselves. Second is the development of a character that has “no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually” (Mosiah 5:2). When this happens, we no longer view ourselves in our “carnal state” (Mosiah 4:2) but as spiritually begotten sons and daughters of God. We recognize that we are a different person than the one who sinned. Scrooge, the famous character in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, had so transformed his life that he could rightfully declare, “I am not the man I was.”1

I am thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ, our incredible loving brother, who sacrificed so much for us, for me, that I might repent and be cleansed.  May I do my best, and with His help, do better than my own best to follow Him and become a true disciple and be forgiven of my sins.

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