Last night Laura commented on how amazingly forgiving Heavenly Father is toward His children. I’ve been thinking about that ever since then. It is true that He is incredibly forgiving (because He loves His children so much) and yet He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Hence if we are to emulate Him in our actions we must learn how to love sinners while abhoring sin.
As I was thinking about this I realized that one of the reasons that He can forgive so freely and love so unconditionally (to forgive all but the single sin which can only be committed with the full knowledge and unassisted choice of the sinner) is that due to the nature of Eternal law His forgiveness does the sinner absolutely no good unless they choose to repent. Regardless of how merciful He is, the sinner cannot receive any glory that is governed by a law which they do not choose to obey.
Those who focus on the need for grace can rightly point out that without forgiveness from our Savior our repentence would be worthless because even with repentance “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) While that doctrine is accurate it has no saving value because of how infinite our Father’s love is.
If we recognize that He already and unconditionally loves us enough to forgive anything except a conscious and fully informed rejection of Him and all that He offers us, we should find motivation in that knowledge to desire to repent. If we desire to repent we find, with that combination of faith and desire, the strength necessary to repent in order to receive the healing benefits of the atonement of Christ and the infinite love of our Father in Heaven.