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Repentance is a restoration to the good

By Emily Christensen

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, May 26 2013 5:20 a.m. MDT

Make restitution. Making restitution means to find ways to make things right again (see "When Saying 'I'm Sorry isn't Enough," by Robert R. and Jill W. Dunford, Ensign, October 1984). For example, if a person stole something, he or she must return it. Sometimes, like saying mean things, a person simply cannot go back and undo what was wrong — but they can work hard at being very kind in the future. In some cases, it is not healthy or safe to return to a very old situation to try and make things right. The best thing to do in this situation is to find another way to make restitution through other means, such as volunteering with an agency or donating service to a related cause.

Be grateful. Repentance is provided as a process by which all may be restored as children of God (see Isaiah 1:18, Doctrine and Covenants 58:42). Each person can feel the peace this brings, and be thankful for it. This will make it easier to offer the same forgiveness to others when they need it, and find ways to encourage peace-making in families, workplace and community. This helps people respect God and the process of repentance by not returning to old ways, or more quickly asking him for help when needed. Remembering that repentance brings wholeness will help with making choices that are aligned with God's will and good for both individual and others.

Repentance restores wholeness. No longer at war within, internal congruence restores peace and confidence. Repentance brings harmony with others and ultimately with God (see 2 Nephi 25:23). It is God's mercy that forgives through the repentance process, but it is God's grace that has provided repentance as part of his great plan of happiness.

Emily Christensen, Ph.D., lives with her husband in Oklahoma. Her Ph.D. is in marriage and family therapy, and she is pursuing a degree in Hebrew and Jewish studies. Her blog is www.housewifeclass.com, and her email is housewifeclass@gmail.com.

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