Repentance is not a free ride, but comes with personal pain and suffering and requires a broken heart and contrite spirit, said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Council of the Twelve.
"I wonder how many of us understand the principle and purpose of repentance, including its relationship to sin and suffering," Elder Oaks asked at a 17-stake fireside Aug. 5 at BYU."We are concerned that some young people who are anticipating serving a mission or being married in the temple have a very lax attitude toward sin. Such persons want the present convenience or enjoyment of sin and the future effects of righteousness, in that order."
That attitude and position are opposite from the Savior who never experienced sin, but whose atoning sacrifice subjected Him to all of its anguish, Elder Oaks said.
"There is a relationship between sin and suffering that is not understood by people who knowingly sin in the expectation that all the burden of suffering will be borne by another, that the sin is all theirs, but the suffering is all His.
"A person who sins is like a tree that bends easily in the wind. On a windy and rainy day the tree bent so deeply against the ground that the leaves became soiled with mud, like sin. If we only focus on cleaning the leaves, the weakness in the tree that allowed it to bend and soil its leaves may remain. Merely cleaning the leaves does not strengthen the tree. Similarly, a person who is merely sorry to be soiled by sin will sin again in the next high wind."
When a person goes through the repentance process, he is not only eligible to be cleansed from sin, but he is also strengthened, Elder Oaks said.
"We must also be changed from a weak person who once transgressed into a strong person with the spiritual stature that qualifies one to dwell in the presence of God."
Repentance is a continual process that is needed by all, he said. Through true repentance a person will feel the whispering of the spirit and know that he has been forgiven and that the Lord remembers the sin no more.