Confessing and Forsaking Sins and Making Generous Restitution

“Confessing and Forsaking Sins and Making Generous Restitution,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material (2021)

“Confessing and Forsaking Sins and Making Generous Restitution,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material

a young adult praying

Week 11 Teacher Material

Confessing and Forsaking Sins and Making Generous Restitution

After studying this lesson, students will discuss how to confess and forsake their sins. They will also identify how to know when their sins have been forgiven and how to move forward with faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Students will discuss what it means to make generous restitution. They will also have the opportunity to testify of the Lord’s ability to bring peace, healing, and forgiveness when others have offended or harmed them.

Ideas for Teaching

Chapter 19

Confessing and forsaking sin are vital steps of repentance.

  • You might begin class by inviting students to share anything they would like to that they learned, thought, or felt as they studied chapter 19. Be prepared to incorporate the following teaching ideas into the discussion as students share. You might also read Doctrine and Covenants 58:42–43 as a class and identify a truth like the one in the section heading above.

  • Consider inviting students to each choose one of the first four sections of the chapter to review. Give students a few minutes to review their section and then share (as a class or in small groups) something that stood out to them. To help deepen students’ learning, you might also discuss some of the following questions either in groups or as a class:

    • Why do you think confessing our sins is an essential part of repentance?

    • What is involved when confessing a sin? Who should we confess our sins to?

    • What should our motive be when confessing our sins to those we have hurt?

    • What sins must be confessed to a priesthood leader? Forgiveness comes from God, so why do we need to confess to a priesthood leader in the case of serious sins?

    • What counsel from Elder Andersen did you find helpful for someone who is struggling to forsake (or give up) a sin? (Consider giving an example or scenario of someone who is trying to forsake a sin like viewing pornography, drinking alcohol, or getting angry, and ask how this person might follow Elder Andersen’s counsel.)

  • You might point out the line “Once we have truly left the sin behind, we do not dwell on it, relish in it, or talk about it widely with others” (paragraph 7 of the section “Forsaking Sin”). You could then discuss one or both of the following questions:

    • Why should we generally not discuss past sins?

    • When it comes to sharing past sins, what counsel did Elder Andersen give to couples who are beginning to date compared to those who are contemplating getting married?

    • How can focusing on Jesus Christ and His Atonement help us put our sins and others’ sins in the past? As part of your discussion, you might watch the video “Reclaimed” (3:26).

When a sin has been confessed and forsaken, we go forward, trusting in the power of the Savior’s Atonement.

  • You might ask students to silently consider if they have ever felt troubled by past sins that they have repented of but still remember. Read the first paragraph of the section “Knowing When Sins Have Been Forgiven” together with the class. Then ask students what Elder Andersen taught that can help someone who may feel troubled by the memory of past sins.

  • Near the end of the chapter Elder Andersen shares a story of when he was a mission president working with an elder who worried about whether he had been forgiven for a past serious transgression. You could summarize or invite a student to summarize the story and then read the last paragraph of the chapter to help students identify a truth similar to the one found in the section heading above. You might then ask one or both of the following discussion questions:

    • How might we resist Satan’s attempts to discourage us with the memories of our past sins?

    • When you do remember your sins, how can you choose to think of them in a way that will encourage you rather than discourage you?

Chapter 20

If we sincerely desire to repent, we will make generous restitution for our sins.

  • To begin this part of the discussion, you might invite students to share anything from chapter 20 that was particularly meaningful to them.

  • Consider reading portions of the first three paragraphs of this chapter as a class and helping students to identify a principle similar to the one in the section heading above. You might then discuss one or both of the following questions:

    • What does generous restitution mean to you?

    • What examples from the scriptures can you think of that show how individuals made restitution for their sins? (If students need ideas, you could talk about Paul [see Acts 9:13–22], Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah [see Mosiah 27:32–36], or Zeezrom [see Alma 15:11–12].)

  • Consider inviting students to share what they have learned about situations where full or adequate restitution may not be possible. (As part of your discussion, you could ask students to review as a class portions of paragraphs 1–6 of the section “Not Quickly or Easily Resolved” as well as the last two paragraphs of that section [which begin “Repentance means much more …”].) You might then share and discuss the following statement by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

President Boyd K. Packer

Restoring what you cannot restore, healing the wound you cannot heal, fixing that which you broke and you cannot fix is the very purpose of the atonement of Christ.

When your desire is firm and you are willing to pay the “uttermost farthing” [see Matthew 5:25–26], the law of restitution is suspended. Your obligation is transferred to the Lord. He will settle your accounts. (“The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 19–20)

God has power to comfort, heal, and bring peace to us when we have been harmed by others.

  • Consider asking a student to recount the experience of the young adult found in the section “Not Quickly or Easily Resolved,” and discuss how Heavenly Father comforted her. You might also read together paragraph 12 of that section (which begins “You may never …”) and help students identify a truth like the one stated in the section heading above.

  • You could discuss with students what they found to be most helpful from the section “God’s Love for Those Who Have Been Abused” (you could give students a few minutes to review the section first, if needed).

  • You might invite a few students to testify of how God has comforted, healed, or brought peace to them after they have been offended or harmed by someone else. (Be sure students understand that you are not asking them to share how they were harmed but rather how God was able to help them. The next lesson will specifically address forgiving others.)

  • You could conclude class by inviting students to record the thoughts, feelings, or impressions they have had during their study and discussion of chapters 19 and 20. Invite them to act on anything they feel inspired to do.

For Next Time

Encourage students to study chapter 21 in preparation for the next week. You might invite them to look for truths that will help guide them in forgiving those who have hurt or offended them. You could also encourage students to ponder the Savior’s role in helping us to forgive and the healing that can come from forgiving others.