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Waz up bro?

I’ve been wondering something lately… We all have talents that God gave to us. If we do something bad, does He take them away? Because I’ve sinned and I’ve repented and stuff, and I do the same sins over and over again. I’m stopping my bad habits, but I don’t know if we lose some of our talents, or blessings the Lord has given us or that He will give us. Will He still forgive our sins even if we do them repeatedly but repent after each one and do it less? I don’t know if He stops forgiving us. I mean it’s so hard for me, I’m just a mere mortal compared to our all-knowing and loving God. I just don’ t want to lose my blessing here on earth, or lose the chance of living in the celestial kingdom for some stupid mistakes that I repeat, but repent so earnestly after. I know I’m stopping, I’m doing much better, but please help me clear my doubts. I hope you answer me and post this letter, even though it is long. That would mean so much to me. Please keep me anonymous.

Repenting hard in a big sinful world.

Dear Repenting,

I guess that in the first place we must define repentance. Repentance is not a change of habit, but a change of character. That is why true repentance is so difficult. However, although it is difficult to achieve and is a firm and essential commandment, it is very achievable. The object of this life is to overcome one’s self; to bring the natural man into domination by the spiritual man. In other words, to be able to control and dominate the natural passions and appetites of the body. Paul expresses it as follows in Galatians 5:16-18–

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. So to overcome sinful habits one would be more successful if he were to devote himself to an ever closer relationship with his Father in Heaven, by being obedient, in as much as possible, to all His commandments, than by just trying to overcome a bad habit. Such a person would be kind and forgiving to those around him-especially to those who would need his forgiveness. One would exhibit the highest fidelity in complying with all the obligations that he would take upon himself in the Kingdom. For instance, if one were called to be a home teacher, that function would be discharged as a prime responsibility-never, unless completely unavoidable, would one wait until the second week of the month to visit and care for his assigned families. One would strictly comply with all the requirements for temple worthiness and attend the temple with regular frequency. In other words, such a person would devote himself first and foremost in his life to the responsibilities he may have to develop the Kingdom. Then, as a result of that obedience, he would be granted by the Father the gift of faith-in a degree commensurate with his obedience. That faith would empower him to righteous action, i.e., additional strength to overcoming himself, or in other words, to subjecting the natural man to the will of the spirit.

Now, the attitude of repentance would be the constant effort to live a pure life. Every man who lives falls short of that goal in one respect or another. However, it is one thing to accept and willingly participate in the passions and appetites of the flesh and an entirely different thing to fight to try to overcome the flesh. We live in a world of great temptation and cannot avoid the prospect of evil. As it is constantly before us, so it must be constantly rejected. We receive unrighteous influences through our five senses; but there is a difference between seeing and looking, between hearing and listening between tasting or smelling and savoring, between touching and feeling. Although we cannot avoid evil impressions, we don’t need to go looking for them. And when they impinge themselves upon our consciousness we need to get rid of them as soon as possible. By thus gaining spiritual strength, evil influences may the more easily be dominated.

So the process is one of continual repentance of what we do that is wrong-a continual struggle for self dominance. The Lord is both patient and understanding. He told Mosiah–

Therefore I say unto you, Go; and whosoever transgresseth against me, him shall ye judge according to the sins which he has committed; and if he confess his sins before thee and me, and repenteth in the sincerity of his heart, him shall ye forgive, and I will forgive him also. Yea, and as often as my people repent will I forgive them their trespasses against me. (Mosiah 26:29-30).

And in Doctrine and Covenants 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.

So we must move ahead with the confidence that little by little, step by step, we will overcome ourselves; and as we try so to do, we will be blessed, encouraged and strengthened by a kind and loving Father. The Savior has encouraged us with this thought-

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not. (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36.)

-Gramps

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