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We each have our own “favorite sins” that, for some reason, we can’t seem to shake. So when we lose hope and feel like change is impossible, how do we conquer the weaknesses that hold us back?
While I was serving as a missionary in South Carolina, a member shared a secret he had learned after serving 14 years as a bishop: “We all narrow our sins down to the few we enjoy.” This bothered me. Did believing Latter-day Saints truly enjoy certain sins and deliberately repeat them regardless of their consequences? I thought “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10)?
Yet, I have spent most of my life repeating the same sins over and over. Let’s be real—don’t we all? The Bible and the Book of Mormon both proclaim that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and “all we, like sheep, have gone astray” (Mosiah14:6). And though we don’t all commit every sin, we each have our own “favorite sins” that, for some reason, we cannot seem to shake.
Why? This behavior makes no sense and is spiritually dangerous. It can also lead us to feel like meaningful change is impossible. So how do we stop?
Why can’t we seem to stop repeating the same sins?
Let’s start by understanding why we sin. First, we need to realize that we don’t just “make mistakes”—a common LDS euphemism—and sins are not accidental. From time to time, each of us deliberately acts against the will of God. We sin because we want to. Maybe at first we were curious what something felt or tasted like. Maybe short term pleasure seemed appealing, peer pressure high, and negative consequences non-existent. We knew the act was wrong, but we still chose to do it.
Ironically, that choice reduces our ability to make a different choice the next time. As Nephi observed, when we repeat the same sins, those imperceptible flaxen threads become “strong cords forever” (2 Nephi 26:22). Elder James E. Talmage explained this powerful concept: “Repentance is not always [p]ossible. As the time of repentance is procrastinated, the ability to repent grows weaker; neglect of opportunity in holy things develops inability.” So though at first we sin because we want to, eventually, we repeat the same sins because we literally cannot help ourselves.
This inability to change is the result of a hardened heart. We don’t want the Spirit to keep making us feel uncomfortable, so we stop listening to Him. And eventually, to our detriment, He withdraws.
To read the full article on LDS Living, click here.