One Sunday, I decided to listen to Mindy Gledhill’s, “What Heaven Sees In You.” I have always found solace in that song — the line “if you have eyes to see what heaven sees in you” always reminds me of the potential the Lord sees in me. However, that particular Sunday morning, I realized one more thing — if the Lord can see the good I do, I’m sure He also sees the many times I succumb to weaknesses.
The great thing about the Lord’s Plan of Happiness is it allows us to make our own choices, and to make mistakes. As we accumulate unwise decisions along the way, sometimes we can start to feel that we’ve become a hopeless case — we feel like we can’t come back to the Lord anymore. And on top of that, Satan — the one who wants us to be miserable like unto himself — works so hard to make us feel as though there is no use in trying to change or return to the right path. Even though we know he’s wrong, Satan’s lies are sometimes easier to believe. Fortunately, the Book of Mormon is there to remind us of the Lord’s pure love for us and His great desire to see us back in the fold. Here are three powerful Book of Mormon verses that show love to those who’ve left.
“His anger is not turned away but His hands are stretched out still” (2 Nephi 20:4)
This beautiful imagery from Isaiah is a thought-provoking representation of the Lord’s justice and the Lord’s mercy. Not only does this verse show the Lord’s great justice — our wrong choices will always have consequences — but it also exhibits the Lord’s great love and mercy for all of us.
This imagery is a message of hope — no matter how far we’ve walked away from Him, the Lord continually has His arms open for us. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine how overwhelming that is to know that the Lord has full confidence in our capacity to return to Him? He has hope that we can change. He has hope that one day, we can return and follow His ways again. This great love is more fully explained in a striking quote from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
“However late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love.”
“Be Converted That I May Heal You.” (3 Nephi 9:13)
There was a time in my life when I got so caught up with school work and activities that I began habitually missing my Institute classes. Every Saturday, I would look at my schedule, remember all the classes I had missed, and would justify that there was no sense going back to Institute class since I was going to fail anyway. Besides, I was ashamed to go back because I had been gone for more than a month.
However, my Institute teacher did not accept any of that. She approached me, showed me my actual standing in class, and offered to have make up classes with me. Because of my teacher’s encouragement, my feelings of failure and shame disappeared.
Whenever we sin, the adversary tries to tell us that there’s no use in repenting or turning back to the Lord because you will be punished anyway. He creates the false belief that the Lord sees no hope for us. Nothing is more distant from the truth. His invitation is always to help us, to heal us, and to bring us hope, peace, and happiness.
“But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven” (Moroni 6:8)
Although the Lord always extends an invitation to be perfect, He knows perfection doesn’t come now. As we live in this world, as we learn our lessons, we will make mistakes– not once, not twice, but many times. Thanks to the Savior’s atonement, if we seek for repentance with real intent and a sincere heart, we can continually ask for forgiveness and change.
The Book of Mormon does not only tell stories about those who were blessed because of their obedience; it also is a book that shows the great mercy of the Lord to those who have left and returned to the fold. So whenever Satan tries to convince you that repentance and forgiveness are no longer within your reach, gain strength from these verses and trust in the Lord’s great love for you.