True Experiences with Repentance and Forgiveness

“True Experiences with Repentance and Forgiveness,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material (2021)

“True Experiences with Repentance and Forgiveness,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material

young adult pondering

Week 2 Teacher Material

True Experiences with Repentance and Forgiveness

In this lesson students will identify several principles related to repentance and forgiveness based on the true experiences recounted by Elder Andersen in chapter 2 of The Divine Gift of Forgiveness. They will share how studying these stories affected them and will write about how the principles they identified can apply to their own lives. Students will also discuss ideas and attitudes about repentance that are common in the world today. They will be invited to share how the Lord has offered them additional assistance and strength in their efforts to repent.

Ideas for Teaching

Chapter 2

We can learn valuable principles about repentance from the experiences of others.

  • Consider giving students five minutes to read or review some of the examples of repentance in chapter 2.

  • Invite students to share which experiences from the chapter stood out to them the most and why. If you have a larger class, you may want to do this activity in small groups to allow more students an opportunity to share. You might share the video “There Is Always a Way Back” (2:21) as an example of a truth that can be identified from the experience of Bishop Robert Walker shared in chapter 2. (One truth that we can identify from Bishop Walker’s experience is that there is always a way back to God.)

  • As students discuss the experiences from the chapter, consider asking some of the following questions (or invite students to discuss the questions in their small groups):

    • What gospel truths can we learn from that experience? (If students have a difficult time identifying truths, you might invite them to review the list of truths in the first paragraph of the chapter to see if one of the truths listed fits that experience well.)

    • Why do you feel this truth is important to understand?

    • What can we learn about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ from this experience?

  • After completing this activity, consider discussing some of the following questions as a class:

    • How has repentance blessed your life or the life of someone you know?

    • What accounts from the scriptures have inspired you to repent?

    • How have you seen any of the truths we have discussed today demonstrated in your own life as you have repented?

  • You might also share the video “Preston’s Story” (3:43) and invite students to think about the power the Savior has to heal us no matter how broken we feel.

  • You might invite students to write down anything they feel prompted to do. You could also invite them to record how God has strengthened them in their efforts to repent and helped them to feel forgiven.

Chapter 3

Many people today ridicule the idea and practice of repentance.

  • You might invite students to share what stood out to them as they read chapter 3. Invite them to share what Elder Andersen taught about attitudes toward repentance. You might also read the last paragraph in the section “Today’s Environment” (which begins “In today’s environment …”) and help students recognize that some people may not understand or may even ridicule their desire to change for the better.

  • You may want to show the video from Elder D. Todd Christofferson’s talk “The Divine Gift of Repentance” (view from time code 1:30 to 3:47) and discuss the difference between a positive attitude toward repentance and a negative one.

  • Consider discussing one or more of the following questions:

    • When have you seen the kinds of negative attitudes toward repentance that Elder Andersen and Elder Christofferson identified?

    • Why do you think some people neglect repentance or feel it is outdated? (Consider discussing some of the reasons Elder Andersen gave in the first two sections of the chapter. You may want to discuss Alma 30:13–18 and Doctrine and Covenants 101:8 and how they relate to those teachings.)

    • What might you say in response to a friend who expressed negative feelings about repentance?

As you seek repentance through Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, They will give you strength to keep the commandments.

  • Consider inviting students to share anything that gave them hope and encouragement from the last section of the chapter, “An Essential Part of God’s Plan.” (Students may need to take a minute to review their notes or markings from the section.)

  • Help students identify a principle similar to the statement in the section heading above (see the third paragraph of the section “An Essential Part of God’s Plan”).

  • You might discuss Elder Andersen’s teachings in the second paragraph of the section “An Essential Part of God’s Plan” by asking: What are some ways you have experienced the Lord’s “compensatory spiritual power”? (It might help to explain to students that this phrase means that as the world gets more wicked, the Lord blesses the righteous with more spiritual help.)

  • Consider discussing one or both of the following questions:

    • How has the Lord lifted and comforted you as you have repented?

    • How has He helped you to deflect or overcome ideas or attitudes that mock repentance?

  • Consider giving students a few minutes to write down any impressions they have had during class or during their personal study. Encourage students to pray for the Lord to strengthen them and give them hope as they continue to repent and improve.

For Next Time

Invite students to study chapters 4 and 5 of The Divine Gift of Forgiveness in preparation for the next class. Encourage them to come to class prepared to talk about what they learn. You might invite students to think about the following questions as they study:

  • What can I learn about repentance from the example of the people of Ammon? What “weapons of war” (Alma 24:19, 25) can I bury to become more fully converted to the Lord?

  • How do the teachings from chapter 5 help me to better see myself from an eternal perspective?