Have you ever thought these things about mistakes and forgiveness?
1. “I still remember my sin, so I must not have been forgiven.”
To that, Dieter F. Uchtdorf says:
Satan will try to make us believe that our sins are not forgiven because we can remember them. Satan is a liar; he tries to blur our vision and lead us away from the path of repentance and forgiveness. God did not promise that we would not remember our sins. Remembering will help us avoid making the same mistakes again. But if we stay true and faithful, the memory of our sins will be softened over time.
2. “Bad thoughts just come into my head. There’s nothing I can do about it.”
Richard G. Scott gave great advice on this when he said:
Some bad thoughts come by themselves. Others come because we invite them by what we look at and listen to. Talking about or looking at immodest pictures … can stimulate powerful emotions. It will tempt you to watch improper [videos] or movies. These things surround you, but you must not participate in them. Work at keeping your thoughts clean by thinking of something good. The mind can think of only one thing at a time. Use that fact to crowd out ugly thoughts. Above all, don’t feed thoughts by reading or watching things that are wrong. If you don’t control your thoughts, Satan will keep tempting you until you eventually act them out.
3. “God can’t really love me anymore because of my mistakes.”
You are never out of reach of the divine love that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ feel for you. Remember, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).
4. “I’ve stopped committing a serious sin, so I don’t need to talk to a church leader about it anymore.”
Why do we need to counsel with the bishop of our ward? Why can’t we just pray for forgiveness or tell a friend?
C. Scott Grow tells us:
The bishop can help you through the repentance process in ways your parents or other leaders are unable to provide. If the sin is serious enough, he may determine that your privileges in the Church should be restricted. For example, as part of your repentance process, he may ask you to refrain from partaking of the sacrament or exercising the priesthood for a period of time. He will work with you and determine when you are worthy again to resume those sacred activities.
5. “My sins are so serious that I can’t be forgiven.”
Everyone makes mistakes. You are never alone and forgiveness is always available to you. Jeffery R. Holland declares:
However many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.