Thru my eyes I was a mean mother and daughter with addictions. I can never make this up to those I have injured. I selfishly took from everyone. I am an old woman now, and for 25 years I have tried to be the best mother and grandmother I can be. Still l I cry almost daily for the pain I caused everyone. I can’t let it go. President Nelson said, “Counting blessings is far better than recounting our problems.” Do you think he meant our past also? Thank you Angels with Gramps.
The easy answer to your question is an emphatic yes. If we look to the Book of Mormon we can confirm this answer through the lament of Nephi, 2 Nephi 4:17-19,
“Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities.
“I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me.
“And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted.”
A principle to ponder, remember, that every sin we have committed is in the “past.” The Lord’s atonement is infinite and eternal, and as such it covers the sins of our past, and the sins we will yet commit. Now, you might be thinking, “Well, yes, I understand what Nephi is saying but I didn’t live a life like Nephi. I am not as good as he was.” If so, remember Nephi was teaching a principle that the Lord wanted everyone who reads the Book of Mormon to understand. And that principle of truth is to “know in whom [we] trust.” We trust, in the Lord’s grace. His bounteous tender mercies and love that he can only offer us.
Let’s move past Nephi and lets discuss for a moment the life of Saul. Saul was a honest seeker of truth. He desired to do what was right before the Lord according to the knowledge he had. In accordance with that knowledge, although with “good” intention (he thought he was doing God’s will), he persecuted the Saints of his God. Not only did he persecute them, he helped the leaders of that time hunt them down and kill the Lord’s servants. Now, think for a moment, when Saul was visited by the Lord and asked, “Why persecutest though me?” What do you think might have been his first thoughts when he realized the magnitude of his decisions? Saul killed, help kill, his Lord’s servants. As a consequence, he was made blind, and thus began his repentance process.
Now, take a moment, when we think of past sins that might cause someone to say, “O wretched man that I am,” surely assisting with killing the Lord’s servants would be in the top ten. This and other decisions Paul made before he was converted may be the reason why Paul felt he was “less than the least” of his brethren, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,” ( Ephesians 3:8 ). As with you, he did all he could — his best — to repent and to move forward despite the decisions of his past.
As I share this, the Spirit brings back to my memory President James E. Faust conference talk, “The Weightier Matters of the Law,” when he shared the shame he felt because he did not help his grandmother out when he was young. Here are his words,
“When the wood box next to the stove became empty, Grandmother would silently pick up the box, go out to refill it from the pile of cedar wood outside, and bring the heavily laden box back into the house. I was so insensitive and interested in the conversation in the kitchen, I sat there and let my beloved grandmother refill the kitchen wood box. I feel ashamed of myself and have regretted my omission for all of my life. I hope someday to ask for her forgiveness.”
As we return back to Paul, I am sure he shed many tears for his past decisions, but something Paul said I hope will bring you comfort. In Philippians 3:13,
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”
My dear beloved sister, please move beyond the past, trust fully in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and continue to reach forth unto that which is before us. I hope this next verse of scripture brings peace to your heart ( Source )
“Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
“Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
“Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.”
Remember, in whom we trust.