Walking the road to repentance

"In the anguishing process of repentance, we may sometimes feel God has deserted us," Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve said during the October 1991 general conference. "The reality is that our behavior has isolated us from Him. Thus, while we are turning away from evil but have not yet turned fully to God, we are especially vulnerable. Yet we must not give up, but, instead, reach out to God's awaiting arm of mercy, which is outstretched `all the day long.' (Jacob 5:47; 6:4; 2 Ne. 28:32; Morm. 5:11.) Unlike us, God has no restrictive office hours."

"No part of walking by faith is more difficult than walking the road of repentance. However, with faith unto repentance,' we can push roadblocks out of the way, moving forward to beg God for mercy. (Alma 34:16.) True contrition brings full capitulation. One simply surrenders, caring only about what God thinks, not whatthey' think, while meekly offering, `O God, . . . make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee.' (Alma 22:18.) Giving away all our sins is the only way we can come to know God."Elder Maxwell said several things impede repentance, such as refusal to recognize the need to change, not being reproved early on when one is less proud, and being unforgiving.

"We cannot repent for someone else," he said. "But we can forgive someone else, refusing to hold hostage those whom the Lord seeks to set free! Ironically, some believe the Lord can forgive them, but they refuse to forgive themselves. We are further impeded at times simply because we have not really been taught why and how to repent.

"As we do repent, however, special assurances await: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.' (Isa. 1:18.)All his transgressions . . . shall not be mentioned unto him.' (Ezek. 18:22.) `I, the Lord, remember

their sinsT no more.' (D&C 58:42.)

"Along with all the foregoing reasons for our individual repentance, Church members have a special rendezvous to keep. Nephi saw it. One future day, he said, Jesus' covenant people, scattered upon all the face of the earth,' will bearmed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.' (1 Ne. 14:14.) This will happen, but only after more members become more saintly and more consecrated in conduct. . . .

"We need never mistake local cloud cover for general darkness. The Atoning Light of the world saw to that. It was for our sake that perfectly remarkable Jesus was perfectly consecrated. Jesus let His own will be totally swallowed up in the will of the Father.' If you and I would come unto Jesus, we must likewise yield to God, holding nothing back. Then other soaring promises await! The prophet Mormon declared that Jesus waitswith open arms to receive [us]' (Morm. 6:17), while the unrepentant and the unconsecrated will never know that ultimate joy described by Mormon, who knew whereof he spoke, of being `clasped in the arms of Jesus.' " (Morm. 5:11.)