Song: We sang song # 98 out of the Primary Children's Songbook, Repentance. It goes as follows:
"I am sorry" is not always easy to say
When I know I've been thoughtless and done something wrong.
I'll try to repent, to do better, to pray
That Heavenly Father will help me be strong.
Lesson: We all need to repent! Faith in Jesus Christ naturally leads to repentance as we strive to follow His gospel and follow His example. Aside from Him, everyone on this earth has sinned and everyone is in need of repentance (Ecclesiastes 7:20). We sin for any number of reasons: ignorance, our weaknesses, or willful disobedience. Whatever the reason, we must repent. But, what is sin? Sin, as described by John, is "all unrighteousness" (1 John 5:17) and "the transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4).
Repentance is the way provided for us to become free from our sins and receive forgiveness for them. Sins slow our spiritual progression and can even stop it, but repentance makes it possible for us to grow and develop spiritually again. The privilege of repenting is made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Repentance sometimes requires great courage, much strength, many tears, unceasing prayers, and untiring efforts to live the Lord's commandments.
There are 7 principles of repentance. To truly repent, one must experience each of them.
#1. We must recognize our sins. We have to admit we have sinned. If we don't realize this, then we cannot progress (Alma 42:29-30).
#2. We must feel sorrow for our sins. We must feel our sins are terrible to the point where we want to unload and abandon them (D&C 20:37).
#3. We must forsake our sins. Our sincere sorrow should lead us to strive to completely stop our sins (D&C 58:43).
#4. We must confess our sins. Confession relieves a heavy burden from the sinner (D&C 61:2). We must confess all our sins to the Lord, but some serious sins (adultery, fornication, abuse, etc) should be confessed to the proper priesthood authority. If we have sinned against another person, we should confess to that person, usually by apologizing. Our less serious sins involve no one but ourselves and the Lord, and they can be confessed privately to the Lord.
#5. We must make restitution. As much as possible we must make right any wrong that we have done. As we do so, God will not mention our sins to us when we are judged (Ezekiel 33:15-16).
#6. We must forgive others. Forgiving those who have sinned against us is a vital part of forgiveness. We must cleanse our hearts of all hate, bitterness, and bad feelings against other people (3 Nephi 13:14-15).
#7. We must keep the commandments of God. To make our repentance complete, we must keep the commandments of the Lord (D&C 1:32). We are not fully repentant if we are not keeping, or striving to keep, all of God's commandments. President Kimball said, "First, one repents. Having gained that ground he then must live the commandments of the Lord to retain his vantage point. This is necessary to secure complete forgiveness."
The prophets have declared that "this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God" (Alma 34:32). We should repent now, every day. When we get up in the morning, we should examine ourselves to see whether the Spirit of God is with us. At night, we should review our acts and words of the day and ask the Lord to help us recognize the things for which we need to repent. By doing so, we will experience the daily process of becoming perfect. As we repent, the Atonement of Jesus Christ becomes fully effective in our lives and the Lord forgives our sins. We become free from the bondage of sin and we find true joy.
Activity: I explained to June how sins are like owies on our spirit. I asked her what happens when we have an owie. She responded, "You need a check-up!" So, we got her Minnie Mouse out. I told her that Minnie had a bad owie, but she didn't know where it was! She just knew that she hurt bad. So June gave her a thorough checkup using her whole doctor kit until she found that Minnie had a bad splinter in her leg. So, June "removed" the splinter, then cleaned the wound, then gave her a shot, and finally put a band aid on it. I asked June why Minnie needed a band aid, and she replied, "it makes Minnie feel better!" I told her that band aids help to protect a would allowing it to heal. Our spirit owies also need protection and time to heal. Repenting is that spiritual band aid. The entire repentance process is just like cleaning, caring for, protecting, and healing those spiritual wounds.
Since June loves playing doctor, she had a blast with this game. It worked a little too well as later on in the evening, she came out of the bathroom with a couple band aids on herself. She happily explained that she " 'pented for being mean to Mommy" and now she had a band aid on her owies. It was too cure.