How do you know when you’re forgiven?
In many LDS homes, a favorite activity for teaching children about repentance involves food coloring. In this object lesson, parents bring out a glass of water and add a few drops of food coloring to it, tainting the water to represent what happens to us when we sin. Parents then say, “Thankfully, through Jesus Christ we can repent and have the stains washed away.” To demonstrate, they add bleach to the water until it’s clear again.
But what if, even after you repent, you still feel the stain? What if your guilt is so overwhelming that you feel that you weren’t forgiven?
Elder Tad R. Callister addresses these questions in his talked “How Do I Know When I Am Forgiven?” He acknowledges that some people are harder on themselves than the Lord is and that they have difficulty feeling forgiven.
If that sounds like you, then pray for peace, read the scriptures, and continue to be better each day. Recognize that perfection can be found in progress. You’re here on earth to do all that you can to become like Christ. Then, in the next life, he’ll make up where you fall short.
According to Elder Callister, you’ll know that you’re forgiven when you “feel the Spirit.”
When you’ve repented but still feel guilt, you can be confident that if you’re feeling the Spirit, God has forgiven you. Know that one day, through Jesus Christ, your guilt will be swept away. Continue to have faith in the healing power of the Atonement.
“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
—Marisa Peel, Mormon Insights
feature image by francisco moreno
Find More Insights
Read “Point of Safe Return,” by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, to learn more about repentance.
Read “Be Ye Therefore Perfect—Eventually,” by Jeffrey R. Holland, for encouragement that doing your best is enough.
Check out the object lesson Elder David A. Bednar used to teach young adults in Mongolia about repentance and forgiveness.