I was studying the topic of sincerity today in my Triple Combination topical guide, and it led me to this scripture in the Book of Mormon:
And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them."
Something struck me about the verse.
First of all, it is beautifully simple. It's a simple if/then statement, demanding action--If you believe these things, then do them. The clarity of the "plain and precious truths" (1 Nephi 13:28-29) restored through the Book of Mormon is once again worth applauding. It functioned for me like a call to action, or even a punch in the gut-- perhaps I was feeling guilty. But the beautiful simplicity of the invitation struck me in the way that all truth does: at first, it stung a little, then it opened a new world of possibilities. It excited me to know that I do not have to be stuck in mediocrity, or in a state of spiritual "bleh." Instead, I can stop, revaluate, and course correct.
Second, the word "believe." It doesn't just say "Repent of your sins and forsake them," but rather "Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them." There's a difference, isn't there? I think it is a profound one.
Consider this example: There was a husband and father who went to make himself a sandwich one day, but there were no plates left in the cupboard. Looking down at the sink, he saw that it was full of dishes-- and not only the sink, but basically all the counter space in the kitchen was taken up with dirty dishes that had piled up over the past week or so. So, he decided to finally do the dishes. When his wife came out and saw that the dishes were done, she was very grateful for her husband, but he felt guilty that he had let them pile up that much. He didn't believe it was right to let the dishes pile up so much, so he decided then and there to always do them right after using them.
All right, so a silly, simple example, but I guess sometimes I am silly and simple. Both before and after the husband had decided to always do the dishes after using them, the dishes did eventually get done. But before it was a source of stress and discomfort in their lives. After, it was under control, and they didn't even have to think of it much anymore. You could say that the husband didn't believe the dishes needed to be done right away before, but that he did believe it after making the decision.
We can be that way with our sins. We can either repent out of necessity after many sins, or believe that we need to repent. Believe it so much that we do it often, even habitually.
I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who sent His only Son to die for our sins, and to institute the Sacrament to give us a chance to be wiped clean through His blood every single week. I am grateful for the scriptures which remind us to repent often, and to believe that we must.