Cleansed by Repentance by Dallin H. Oaks
Content by Kasee Bailey
Hell hath no fury like toddler twin tantrums. That is the verified, unadulterated truth in my home, where I divide my attention between fiercely independent two-year-olds and endearingly dependent six-month-olds. While one set of twins is negotiating for fruit snacks and another viewing of Toy Story, the other set demands simultaneous feedings and games of peek-a-boo.
Being a mom is a privilege. It’s also a struggle. While relating my personal tales of woe to my mother after one particularly exhausting day, recounting the trying behaviors of my children, she offered a simple, yet profound piece of advice.
The things that your children do that test you — those seemingly just-to-drive-you-crazy behaviors (you know the ones) that feel like personal parental attacks — are often their strengths, she said. Harmful or disobedient behavior excluded, those qualities that annoy you, test you, or challenge you should be viewed as assets to their personalities, spirits, and divine attributes — part of their eternal DNA and makeup.
Hearing that felt like a trip to the eye doctor. Sitting in the chair, looking into little circle lenses, where with each chink-chink of A or B, you get a vision that is clearer or fuzzier. With that teaching moment, my vision became clearer.
It had always scathed me at times — the way my son seemed incapable of controlling boundless energy that kept him going ALL. DAY. LONG. Or the way my other son built towers with his vegetables and required his blocks, art supplies, and clothes to be just so. Instead of irritations, could I view those behaviors as early manifestations of their gifts, talents, and unique personality traits? Could I use that reframing to be a better, more ennobling mother?
Teaching ourselves to view things differently takes work. Reframing our vision requires a conscious effort to adjust misaligned misconceptions and dusty lenses. But for me, much of the most meaningful learning in my adult life has involved a reframing of my perspective, an alteration of the view by which I see others, the world, and the gospel.
In my parenting, I’m reframing the way I see my children. In therapy, I’m reframing the way I see anxiety and mental illness. In my study of the gospel, I’m reframing the way I see key, exaltation-essential principles.
Like repentance. In my frame, repentance had often been viewed as a painful punishment, a guilt-steeped process to be scorned. But the prophets help us reframe: “Repentance begins with our Savior, and it is a joy, not a burden. In last December’s Christmas devotional, President Nelson taught: ‘True repentance is not an event. It is a never-ending privilege. It is fundamental to progression and having peace of mind, comfort, and joy.’”
Never-ending privilege. Fundamental to progression. Peace of mind. Comfort. Joy. Is this how you think about repentance? By putting on new, clearer lenses, by adjusting the size, depth, or scale of the frame through which we view the world, we open ourselves up to progress, peace, and increased personal righteousness.
FAITH IN ACTION
This week’s Come, Follow Me study touches on the Holy Ghost’s role in helping us to understand the things of God. Much like being in-tune spiritually, reframing our vision requires divine help. Think about the spiritual experiences in your life. How did the Holy Ghost help you to understand and see clearer? How did you grow during those experiences?
Our friends, families, and neighbors who aren’t acquainted with the gospel might not see spiritual truth the way we do. Can a reframing of gospel principles help us relate to these individuals in new ways that will help them feel the love of God and develop a desire to draw near to him? Try to see through their eyes.
"Lord, Wilt Thou Cause That Mine Eyes May Be Opened" by Elder W. Craig Zwick, Emeritus Member of the Seventy
"The Divine Gift of Repentance" by Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles