The choice to forsake sin and repent may be hard, but it will bring joy.
Some people struggle with charity. Some people struggle with purity. But as a kid, Elder Dale G. Renlund struggled with lighting firecrackers before sacrament meetings.
In his talk “Repentance: A Joyful Choice,” Elder Renlund describes how, when he was a deacon, his friend persuaded him to light a firecracker in the overflow area of their chapel before sacrament meeting. He did so, and a burnt aroma filled the chapel throughout the meeting, distracting everyone’s worship. Elder Renlund felt terrible about his actions, and he sought the gift of repentance to help remedy his guilt.
Like Elder Renlund, all of us commit sin—some sins major, and some sins minor. (Elder Dallin H. Oaks refers to these minor sins as “grains of sand or specks of dirt that come out in the weekly wash.”) Regardless of their classification, all of these sins need to be repented of, which can sometimes be an unsavory process.
But the result of regaining peace of mind and the companionship of the Spirit that comes from repenting ought to justify the momentary discomfort of confessing and forsaking our sins, because when we do these things, we are “forgiven, and . . . the Lord . . . remember[s] [our sins] no more” (D&C 58:42–43). As we recognize the gift of repentance for what it is, we can choose to repent confidently, and more importantly, we can repent with joy. As Elder D. Todd Christofferson says, “There should be a smile on our faces when we speak of [repentance].”
Let us seek the Lord’s forgiveness, for, as Elder Renlund says, “Our Redeemer chooses to forgive because of His incomparable compassion, mercy, and love.” Let us access that love. Let us choose joy, and let us choose repentance.
Read the full text of Elder Dale G. Renlund’s general conference address “Repentance: A Joyful Choice.”
—Tyler Garrett, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
Watch the Mormon Message “Lifting Burdens” to hear the testimony of living prophets and apostles regarding the infinite Atonement of the Savior.
Watch the Bible Video “Godly Sorrow Worketh Repentance” to hear one of Paul’s sermons on the matter.