Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dale G. Renlund on the joy of the gift of repentance

Elder Dale G. Renlund (b. November 13, 1952) served in the First Quorum of Seventy starting in 2009, until his call to the Quorum of Twelve in October 2015.
"The power that makes repentance possible [is] the atoning sacrifice of our Savior. Real repentance must involve faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith that He can change us, faith that He can forgive us, and faith that He will help us avoid more mistakes. This kind of faith makes His Atonement effective in our lives. When we 'perceive afterwards' and 'turn around' with the Savior’s help, we can feel hope in His promises and the joy of forgiveness. Without the Redeemer, the inherent hope and joy evaporate, and repentance becomes simply miserable behavior modification. But by exercising faith in Him, we become converted to His ability and willingness to forgive sin....
"The reach of the Savior’s Atonement is infinite in breadth and depth, for you and for me. But it will never be imposed on us....
"Instead of making excuses, let us choose repentance. Through repentance, we can come to ourselves, like the prodigal in the parable (See Luke 15:17; see also verses 11–24), and reflect on the eternal import of our actions. When we understand how our sins can affect our eternal happiness, we not only become truly penitent but we also strive to become better....
"I invite you to feel more joy in your life: joy in the knowledge that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real; joy in the Savior’s ability, willingness, and desire to forgive; and joy in choosing to repent. Let us follow the instruction to 'with joy... draw water out of the wells of salvation' (Isaiah 12:3). May we choose to repent, forsake our sins, and turn our hearts and wills around to follow our Savior. I testify of His living reality. I am a witness and repeated recipient of His incomparable compassion, mercy, and love. I pray that the redeeming blessings of His Atonement may be yours now—and again and again and again throughout your lives, as they have been in mine."
- Dale G. Renlund, "Repentance: A Joyful Choice," General Conference, October 2016
Click here to read or hear the complete talk

In his recent conference talk, Elder Renlund taught about the blessing of repentance. He shared some insightful examples and analogies of what it means to "turn around" or change behavior, while also emphasizing the need to also turn and change our heart as we renounce sin. Each of us has need for that kind of change in our life.

But the key is that none of that can be done alone; it requires the support and enabling power of the atonement of the Savior. We must each choose to accept that power into our lives so that we can feel the blessings and joy that come from divine forgiveness and renewal.

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