The Most Frequently Given Commandment

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(Photo by Alexey Trofimov, National Geographic)

As you go to make your New Year’s resolutions, and ponder on the past as you plan the future, as you think on your accomplishments and on your choices this past year and form your vision of how this year is going to bein short, as you reflect on the state of your soul, remember, most of all, compassion.

Remember that we all fail and fall behind the standard we set ourselves to. I certainly do. Writing a devotional blog does not preclude me from sin. I have to repent and recover from spiritual slumps constantly.

But failing occasionally, or even frequently, does not mean we are not keeping the commandments. On the contrary: what is the most frequently given commandment?

REPENT.

That means God knows we’re going to mess up. God knows we’re going to sin.

And so with compassion for yourself, and not beating yourself to death with unnecessary guilt—after all, guilt is supposed to be a rumble strip on the freeway, meant to keep you from crashing over the side, not a self-torturing device—forge onward with courage. Be willing to fail, and be willing to get back up without hating yourself.

Resolutions will always be broken, or forgotten, or otherwise not kept. That is okay. There is nothing in the scriptures or prophetic teachings about only resolving to do things at the beginning of the calendar year. You’re going to have to rethink plans, rethink the state of your soul, many, many times this year. Do it often. Do it regularly. Not with the intent to punish yourself, but with the intent to turn around, if you need to. That’s what repentance is: turning your soul to face God. Looking to that serpent raised on a stake, and living.

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