Sunday, September 29, 2013

Parable of the Hidden Step

When my little girl made a mistake, I reminded her of the steps of repentance. As she applied the repentance process, she felt overwhelmed.
   "I'm afraid I'll never learn how to be perfect." She told me.
   I recognized in my daughter the need for a lesson I had to learn myself about the Hidden Step of Repentance.
   In Primary, I was taught the four steps of repentance. These steps were often compared to a pathway to get back on the straight and narrow path Lehi talked about in the Book of Mormon, the way back to Heavenly Father's presence.
   Even before I was baptized, I was taught to
     1. Recognize my mistakes,
     2. Apologize to all I'd hurt (especially Heavenly Father),
     3. Right the wrong, and 
     4. NEVER do it again.
   After I was baptized, the steps of repentance became more important than ever, because now I am accountable for my mistakes. Now my mistakes are sins, because I know better. 
   For many years I thought there were only four steps. But something was missing. Like my little girl, Satan sometimes drummed up past mistakes and I found myself feeling guilty for them all over again. I'd repented, hadn't I? Why then did I still feel so bad about them?
   Eventually I came to realize that there is one more step. The final hidden step probably seemed so automatic to my Primary leaders, that they didn't think to teach it. I mean, once you've repented, you're forgiven. You're done, right?
   It may seem obvious that when your sin is forgiven you don't have to worry about it anymore. God wants us to forget it because He has already done so. Yet how many of us dwell on past shortcomings and worry that we might slip up again?
   How many of us tend to hop over that last hidden step -- and fail to forgive ourselves?

UPDATE: Today posted on Facebook with the same point as this parable, so I put it here -

"Remember, heaven is filled with those who have this in common: They are forgiven. And they forgive.” –Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Do not get hung up on your own struggles and imperfections. Turn your focus toward heaven, correct your course if needed, and allow the grace of the Savior to wash over you and know that you are forgiven.