- At the conclusion of our interview, he opened his arms to embrace me. President Monson is a tall man. As he wrapped his long arms around me and pulled me close, I felt like a little boy being held in the protective arms of a loving father.
He speaks of the arms of love that Christ has for us:
- The scriptures speak of His arms being open, extended, stretched out, and encircling. They are described as mighty and holy, arms of mercy, arms of safety, arms of love, “lengthened out all the day long.”
- The Lord’s desire that we come unto Him and be wrapped in His arms is often an invitation to repent.
Elder Andersen spends the rest of his talk explaining the need for repentance:
- When we sin, we turn away from God. When we repent, we turn back toward God. The invitation to repent is rarely a voice of chastisement but rather a loving appeal to turn around and to “re-turn” toward God. It is the beckoning of a loving Father and His Only Begotten Son to be more than we are, to reach up to a higher way of life, to change, and to feel the happiness of keeping the commandments. Being disciples of Christ, we rejoice in the blessing of repenting and the joy of being forgiven. They become part of us, shaping the way we think and feel.
- Yet repentance is a blessing to all of us. We each need to feel the Savior’s arms of mercy through the forgiveness of our sins.
Elder Andersen expresses his amazement at the way the Savior views us through the repentance process:
- I am amazed at the Savior’s encircling arms of mercy and love for the repentant, no matter how selfish the forsaken sin. I testify that the Savior is able and eager to forgive our sins... There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. What a marvelous privilege for each of us to turn away from our sins and to come unto Christ. Divine forgiveness is one of the sweetest fruits of the gospel, removing guilt and pain from our hearts and replacing them with joy and peace of conscience.
- For most, repenting is quiet and quite private, daily seeking the Lord’s help to make needed changes. For most, repentance is more a journey than a one-time event. It is not easy. To change is difficult. It requires running into the wind, swimming upstream. Repentance is turning away from some things, such as dishonesty, pride, anger, and impure thoughts, and turning toward other things, such as kindness, unselfishness, patience, and spirituality. It is “re-turning” toward God.
Elder Andersen addresses those that are concerned that they have sinned too much to be forgiven.
- At this very moment, someone is saying, “Brother Andersen, you don’t understand. You can’t feel what I have felt. It is too difficult to change.” You are correct; I don’t fully understand. But there is One who does. He knows. He has felt your pain. He has declared, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” The Savior is there, reaching out to each of us, bidding us: “Come unto me.” We can repent. We can! Realizing where we need to change, we sorrow for the sadness we have caused. This leads to sincere and heartfelt confession to the Lord and, when needed, to others.
He shares with us the importance of taking the sacrament in the repentance process:
- Our weekly taking of the sacrament is so important—to come meekly, humbly before the Lord, acknowledging our dependence upon Him, asking Him to forgive and to renew us, and promising to always remember Him
He then offers words of encouragement:
- Don’t be discouraged. If you are striving and working to repent, you are in the process of repenting. As we improve, we see life more clearly and feel the Holy Ghost working more strongly within us.
He addresses people that have the impression that after we are forgiven, we will no longer remember our sins:
- The scriptures do not say that we will forget our forsaken sins in mortality. Rather, they declare that the Lord will forget.
He summarizes with these words of encouragement:
- As we honestly confess our sins, restore what we can to the offended, and forsake our sins by keeping the commandments, we are in the process of receiving forgiveness. With time, we will feel the anguish of our sorrow subside, taking “away the guilt from our hearts” and bringing “peace of conscience.”
- For those who are truly repentant but seem unable to feel relief: continue keeping the commandments. I promise you, relief will come in the timetable of the Lord. Healing also requires time.
I am grateful for Elder Andersen's words concerning the repentance process. We all need to repent and are all in need of forgiveness from our Savior. I am going to try to be a little more patient with those around me. As I have read this talk, the impressions in my mind are that I need to be quicker to ask for forgiveness from others and the Savior, and even more quick to forgive those that seek my forgiveness.