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Question

 

Gramps,

I have been struggling with a certain sin for a long time, and I have begun to not feel bad or sorrowful for sinning. I do my best to read the scriptures meaningfully, and I have a desire to overcome my sin. What can I do to gain godly sorrow and have guilt for my sin so that I am really motivated to stop, and that committing sin would feel as abominable as it should feel?

Anonymous

 

Answer

 

Anonymous,

Part of the insidious nature of sin is that it can numb us. The more we are involved with sin, the less guilt we are likely to feel. We can, if we keep at it, even drive the light of Christ entirely from ourselves. Ephesians 4:19 speaks of a state wherein we may become “past all feeling having given themselves over to lasciviousness”. ¬†Fortunately, it sounds like you’re not there yet…but you’re headed in that direction. But the desire you still have to overcome sin remains, for now. I do warn you though, keep it up and you WILL regret it. That much is sure. Wickedness never was happiness, and it will come back someday and smash you over the head something fierce. I can testify of that from personal and anecdotal experience, and it is doctrinal. Wickedness never was happiness! ¬†(Alma 41:10)

As near as I can figure there are three motivators to righteousness. The first, and bottom tier, is fear of punishment. The second tier is hope for reward. The final, and greatest motivator, is love of God and fellowman. I would contend that a lack of guilt suggests that we have not reached this top tier. That’s okay, of course. None of us are fully there. That’s why the other two tiers exist. But what is motivating you? You say you still have desire to overcome. Do some pondering on it. Is it fear of going to Hell? Hope that you’ll go to Heaven? Or do you honestly and completely love the Lord and desire nothing more than to do His will in all things?

You have also suggested some steps that are imperative, but it also sounds like you could use some improvement. You mentioned, for example, scripture study. But you also used the term “do my best” which implies some failure. Am I correct? So there’s one place you could improve, right?

What about your prayers? How heartfelt are they? What are you asking for? What are you grateful for? How much time are you spending on your knees pouring your soul out to God? Can that improve? Of course, as with all of us, we know it can.

What about your time spent in service to others? What about fasting? What about truly and honestly keeping the Sabbath holy?

Here’s the thing. Truth only comes as we gain more light. Light comes as a gift of God from obedience to His commandments. It is through this light that we learn to know our Father and His Son, and it is by this knowledge of Him that we develop love for Him and His ways.

In D&C 93:23-28 we read:

23 Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth;

 

24 And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;

 

25 And whatsoever is more or less than this is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the beginning.

 

26 The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a fulness of truth, yea, even of all truth;

 

27 And no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments.

 

28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.

Key words: “unless he keepeth his commandments.”

It is by knowing your Father in Heaven that you will develop the true Godly sorrow (a much better description than “guilt”) that you seek, that will truly motivate you to change.

See this three part video on Light as a starting point for understanding better how we learn and grow from our Father in Heaven.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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