This may seem like a true statement, but once again, partial truths can be deceiving. I often heard people going through trials which seemed huge to me talk about how they were able to receive peace from the gospel. I never really felt that peace the way I thought I should. I even taught on my mission that if people heard the gospel, they would have a new peace come into their lives, even though I had not personally felt it. Since being compelled to humility, I have changed the way that I live. Still far from perfect, but earnestly trying, I have felt the peace others have spoken of, even in the midst of a period of my life with many unknowns in the future. I realized that the word that causes this to be a lie is “having”. For having the gospel can bring a certain level of peace, but living the gospel is what leads us to the comfort offered by the Holy Ghost. Hymn #14 starts, “Sweet is the peace the gospel brings”, but it doesn’t stop there. It completes that sentence with “to seeking minds and true.” I need to do my part and not just have the gospel in order to experience this peace.
Several months after I was incarcerated, fires raged through our area and demolished entire neighborhoods. Over 5,000 homes were destroyed. Due to my limited contact with the outside world, I did not know if my house had been burned. I knew my family had been evacuated and was given information both that my neighborhood had been burned and that it had not been burned. For nearly two days, I didn’t know. Yet I felt an incredible peace. I didn’t worry at all about our things and knew that as long as my family was ok, we would be fine. I didn’t even feel stress about not knowing. This experience showed me the peace I had heard others describe and made me realize that living the gospel truly does bring sweet peace.
What differences have you noticed in your life between simply having the gospel and living the gospel? I look forward to reading your experiences.
From the time I was a teenager, I believed that it is just not necessary to confess to man. I doubted Bishops’ abilities to hold confidentiality, and I subscribed to the theory that only God can judge me. But in reality, this was just a fear and rationalization. A fear of man and a fear of consequences. I rationalized that I didn’t actually need to tell anyone about my sins. That led to me never really addressing those sins and continuing to do them. Holding to this belief also symbolized that I did not want to change my behavior. Now, of course, there are many times in our lives, daily actually, where repentance can and should be done with prayer and that alone is sufficient. But I know now that if any guilt or resentment remains, further repentance is necessary. Due to my current situation, I have not yet been able to act on this new knowledge and confess to a church leader, so my testimony of this principle is far from complete. Yet I recognize believing this lie allowed me to continue to justify my behavior. It also allowed me to not be sincere in any repentance attempts. Colleen Harrison wrote, “As long as it is only to God that we do our confessing, we are still prey to the lie that if someone else, someone mortal, knew all about us, they would hate us or shun us in revulsion.” We cannot allow our fear of man to exceed our desire to be clean again.
What thoughts do you have on the idea of confessing to man?
As with all of us, I have sinned and continue to do so. Some sins were more severe than others. And while I was taught about repentance, I never really did it. Not with a Bishop and not with the Lord through prayer. I read and was taught many scriptures about not procrastinating repentance, but somehow I believed that it would all just work itself out. I figured that Christ is loving and would not turn me away. I did some good things in my life that must make up for the bad. However, one truth I have learned is that the scriptures apply to all of us. They apply to me. And as I read them with this in mind, I realized that the scriptures warned me about this very lie. 2 Nephi 28:8 tells us what Satan wants us to believe about our final judgment: “If it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be raised in the Kingdom of God.” That is exactly what I thought would happen.
There are numerous scriptures I had been ignoring that teach what will really happen if we have the knowledge of the gospel and die in our sins. Perhaps none is as clear as Mosiah 2:38 when King Benjamin teaches us, “If that man repenteth not and remaineth and dieth an enemy to God, the demands of divine justice do awaken his immortal soul to a lively sense of his own guilt, which does cause him to shrink from the presence of the Lord, and doth fill his breast with guilt and pain and anguish.”
As I have come to a realization of my sins, my mortal body has felt that pain and my soul has felt that anguish. I am so grateful to learn these lessons now, because having those feelings for eternity must truly be what the scriptures refer to as hell. And believing in the lie was leading me directly there.
Have you ever believed that your sins would not catch up with you? How has this lie affected you? I invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts.