Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New Year. Renewed Life? Day 4

Day 3 gave me some good food for thought about how well or not I forgive others' failures in my heart.  Unlike God, who chooses and decides with infinite comprehension to forgive or not, we are called to hand up our sinned-against anguish to Him to deal with in infinite justice or mercy, as is best.  Wise handing up is hard.  And forgiveness is not always easy.  But it is, I believe, infinitely liberating. 

(note: Forgiveness does not mean that we cease to work for justice in this life or excuse sin, but it does enable us so that we may be liberated to work for justice without rancor or hatred or fear, working instead out of compassion for those wronged and a focus on repairing and healing, not retribution.)

So perhaps its appropriate that the hope in today's reflection hinges upon understanding better the process of God's gift of forgiveness to me as I seek Him and seek to change who I am.  I sense that that may also ultimately be similarly infinitely liberating as is our forgiveness of others.

Day 4: Victory Over Sins of Commission

...will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?”
3 Nephi 9:

Repentance, if you look at the Greek and Hebrew words used in the New and Old Testament, refers to a change of heart; changing what you love and who you want to be and the resultant change of direction in your life.

And sins of commission are the times when we do, say or think anything God has forbidden or warned against. Repentance, therefore, in a religious sense, is becoming a person whose change of heart reflects a change of what you love; turning you into a person who, in spite of the attraction of various actions forbidden by God, loves and is committed to God and goodness and finds light and peace enough in that commitment to enable him or her to choose God and goodness instead of choosing indulgence in that which God has warned against.

The things warned against can be anything from actions and words to thoughts or relationships. The trick is to be brave enough to see them for what they are and address them, seeking to change so that we love and to act in goodness, rather than excusing our forays into indulging in wrong things, or hoping that maybe God will act like an indulgent, unconcerned babysitter towards us and our sins, rather than a loving and concerned father.

There are a myriad of questions we can ask ourselves as we reflect. Below are a few. You may find that there are others that better address the areas in which a change of heart will be wise repentance for you. So, if it's helpful, write them instead. The key is to be honest with yourself about which questions will help you make that change in what and who you love so that your actions will reflect that.

Some possible questions for reflection: (a) Am I engaged in any form of physical, mental, online or phone immorality or unethical behavior? ___ (b) Do the things I read or watch for entertainment celebrate or embody glorifying violence against or the objectification of others? ___ (c) Do I have habits that abuse or neglect my body? ___ (d) Are there things or people that I trust more than I trust God?___ (e) Am I a thoughtful, wise steward with my financial resources? ___ (f) Am I in any way harsh or unkind to others? ___ (g) Which sins do I confess but still have trouble fully forsaking? ___ (h) Have I abused God's grace by taking sin lightly? ___

Repentance is hard because it involves change. Trying to do it by simply gritting your teeth, listing what you will do and won't do, and exercising self-mastery may help you change your actions and is very helpful in this process. But we are also seeking a step beyond that; not just a change in what we do, but also in who and what (God and mankind and goodness) we love more than we love our own self-indulgence in less-worthy actions. And we can pray for that.  It is charity.

Charity ...seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth...
Cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all... and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him, wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love

Moroni 7:45-48

1 comment:

Sister Tam said...

Thank you for sharing your gospel's study. How meaningful repentance is in my life? That is the beautiful thing God has given so we can change and become who God wants us to be.