Having read the book ‘Following the light of Christ into His presence’ I was left to ponder about being completely clean of my sins. How can I know if I have been completely forgiven of my sins, or how do I know I have repented from all the sins I have committed? What happens if there are some that I have forgotten? What of the ones I am unable to repair? I was baptized at age 13 and I have committed many wrong doings. How can I know for sure that I am forgiven? What is your opinion and advice for me?
Marie, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Perhaps we should look into the definition of repentance. We read in D&C 58:42-43—
Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins–behold, he will confess them and forsake them.
The Lord is telling us that we must confess and forsake. To forsake something is to give it up completely. It implies not just abstinence, but a change of character. We come to the feeling that we would not be caught dead doing what we used to do. We are repulsed by what used to attract us. Then we know that we have repented. If you’ve forgotten something that you have done that is wrong, don’t worry about it. God does not keep a score sheet of all our actions, but he continually evaluates the condition of our heart. If our heart is pure, it doesn’t make any difference what we have done in the past. We may think of it as something done by another person–the one we used to be but no longer are. God does not judge us the way we were, but the way we are.