Breaking God’s commandments comes in many forms including lying, cheating, stealing, deception, whoredoms, idolatries, murders, envying, gossip, laziness, selfishness, hurting others (physically and emotionally), swearing (filthy language) and uncontrolled anger to name a few. Sin is the violation of God’s commandments or divine laws. The Apostle John said, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3: 4 in the Bible) “All unrighteousness is sin…” (1 John 5: 17 in the Bible)
If we know right from wrong and we choose wrong that is sin. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4: 17 in the Bible)
Lasting Happiness and Joy
Neil L. Anderson said “Lasting happiness and joy come through faith in our Heavenly Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ. All that is good and beautiful, all that is holy and sacred, comes from Them. That includes forgiveness, which refreshes our soul and confirms where we stand with Them.
In our premortal world, we rejoiced with the opportunity to come to earth, receive a mortal body, and become more like our Heavenly Father (Job 38: 4-7 in the Bible). We knew, however, that we would experience disappointment, sickness, pain, injustice, temptation, and sin. These challenges were anticipated in the Father’s plan of redemption, and He called upon His Only Begotten Son to be our Redeemer and Savior. Jesus Christ would come to earth like no other, and through His righteousness, He would break the bands of death. As we choose to follow Him and repent of our sins, He eliminates, through His infinite Atonement, our mistakes and sins found in the book of life.
As Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) explained: ‘If we choose … the course of discipleship, we will … move from what may be initially a mere acknowledgment of Jesus on to admiration of Jesus, then on to adoration of Jesus, and finally to emulation of Jesus. In that process of striving to become more like Him…’
Being a Little Better Each Day
Repentance includes sorrow and regret for our sins and mistakes and changing our behavior focus toward God
“President Russell M. Nelson has said: ‘Nothing is more liberating, more ennobling, or more crucial to our individual progression than is a regular, daily focus on repentance… Experience the strengthening power of daily repentance—of doing and being a little better each day…In prayer we review the happenings of the day, asking, ‘Where did I see the Lord’s hand in my life? How did my actions reveal honesty and unselfishness? What more could I have done? What thoughts and emotions do I need to control? How could I have better followed the example of the Savior? How could I have been more kind, more loving, more forgiving, and more merciful toward others? In what ways was I less than my Heavenly Father would want me to be?’
Our personal prayers open the window to personal revelation from our Heavenly Father.
With faith in Jesus Christ, we openly acknowledge to our Heavenly Father our mistakes, oversights, and unthoughtful actions toward others. We humbly ask for forgiveness, listen to the quiet impressions of the Spirit, and promise our Heavenly Father that we will be more attentive to those things we can change We restore that which we can restore to those we have hurt or offended. It may be an apology to a spouse or a child, a message to a friend or coworker, or a resolve to follow a neglected spiritual impression. President Nelson has declared, ‘Jesus Christ … stands with open arms, hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us.’”
We can Change and Be Completely Forgiven
“Save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ.”(Boyd K. Packer (1924–2015) “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” Ensign, Nov. 95)
“… If ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me” ( 3 Nephi 9: 13-14 in the Book of Mormon)