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Question

 

Gramps,

I have been a member for many years baptized as a child. But only active for the last several years. Will Christ stand for me if I have not been faithful to my covenants?

Norman

 

Answer

 

Norman,

As I understand your question, there are two parts that need addressing.

  • You mention that you’ve been inactive for many years.
  • You mention that you are now active.

Surely you know about the Atonement of Christ and the gift of repentance.  If not, then visit the following pages:

How did the atonement affect Christ?

How do I develop a deep and strong personal testimony of Christ’s atonement and sacrifice?

What does infinite atonement really mean?

How does the repentance process work for someone who has left a trail of heart ache?

Why must one still suffer consequences if repentance and re-baptism have been done?

What is the timeline for repentance?

From all that, you probably understand that you can repent of your past sins.  And the Lord will forgive your sins through sincere repentance.  So, I hope those articles answer that part of your question.

The other part of your question is about covenants.  We make a covenant at baptism to obey the commandments of God.  But we all fail at being perfect every day.  So, why bother?  You yourself have stayed away for a long time.  How can you make up for that?  Well, let’s look at it a different way.

  • We have repentance every day and a re-commitment to that covenant every week when we partake of the Sacrament.
  • Re-commitment to a goal is the very key to accomplishing that goal.

Psychological studies have shown that failing a goal is not the same as abandoning the goal, provided it is followed by a recommitment. And with each recommitted effort, we do better and better as time goes on.

We found that many had slips or lapses, and were able to get back on the wagon again. They were learning from their mistakes, and figuring out what to do next time.

 

— G. Alan Marlatt, a professor of psychology and director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington.

Now, that is psychology.

But what is repentance other than recommitting to a goal that we’ve failed at? The sacrament offers us a way to remind ourselves that we’re recommitting ourselves to the goal. And so long as we are committed or recommitted Christ is our yoke-fellow.

This is especially meaningful when we recall the quote:

That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed, but that our ability to do it has increased.

 

— Heber J. Grant (may have orignated with Emerson)

We naturally understand this when it comes to picking up skills.  Is it such a far stretch to apply this when learning how to pickup “spiritual skills”? Human nature is no different when it comes to mundane skills like sports, or more exalted skills like repentance.  We keep at it, and we improve.

That is precisely what repentance and the sacrament are about.  That mindset of continuing to re-commit is what the Savior looks for in His final judgment.  Get up each time you fall.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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