What does it mean to have a “broken heart”?
It means exactly that – you’ve had your heart broken. You’ve put your trust in something that ought not be trusted. You’ve believed something you should not have believed. You’ve followed something you should not have followed. And because you did these things, you came to the inevitable conclusion: your trust, your hope, your following, your belief, and your love were all betrayed. The thing that you wanted cannot happen, and your heart has been broken because of it.
And because your heart is broken, you may feel two ways:
- You are bitter. You are angry. You have been betrayed! And you seek to tear down the thing which betrayed you. But feeling this is folly, because you are allowing yourself to be acted upon. You see yourself as the victim.
- You are sorrowful, because you are not the victim: you are the perpetrator. You have no one to blame but yourself for your unbelief. And in the depths of your despair, you cry out and ask to be shown the better way, because your spirit is contrite.
I hope it’s the latter.
“A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge” – Joseph Smith, Jr.
The more knowledge you have, the closer you are to salvation and eternal life, which implies that you know more about the character of God (John 17:3). Repentance, being the act of moving closer to salvation, necessarily means that you are learning more about Him.
Repentance has nothing to do with what you have done. It has everything to do with what you know.
We often speak of repentance as “confessing and forsaking” our sins, groveling in the dirt, pleading for forgiveness, and pledging that we will never do [whatever we did] again. This is not repentance. These things are the fruits of true repentance. If you have truly learned more about God, you will better understand your relation to Him and your relationship with Him. Understanding this means you will either seek to run away and hide (Mosiah 3:25, Mormon 9:1-5) or you will seek the redeeming grace of Christ. If you seek the latter, then you may feel compelled to confess your sins to others as a testimony of your repentance, and you will desire to never repeat the act (Mosiah 5:2).
But these are the fruits of repentance. They are not repentance itself. Repentance is to “come, follow [Him]”. It is to “learn of [Him]” (Matt. 11:29). We sin as we neglect this duty.
Come, let us sin no more.