I keep having versions of this conversation so I thought I would share it here. I am suprised that I am sometimes so passionately angry by the comments people make that I have actually yelled at them! It isn't that I am angry with the person. I am angry with the lies they are believing and that they are letting Satan get to them.
"I have made a lot of mistakes. I don't see how Heavenly Father can ever forgive me."
"THAT IS A LIE!!!!!!! Don't believe it! When you start thinking that way, plug your ears and sing really loud and say 'I'm not listening! I can't hear you!'
Unless you have become a serial killer, which I doubt, you can repent. Completely. Satan tells us that we are lost and worthless and that Heavenly Father couldn't possibly love us and forgive us after what we have done. HE IS A LIAR!!!! HE WANTS US TO BE MISERABLE!!!!!
Jesus loves us, no matter what we have done. He has suffered for our sins so that we can repent. EVERYONE makes mistakes and not one of us is worthy without the Savior. It is hard to admit your mistakes and change but it can be done. And it is so worth it. The blessings that are promised to us are so amazing. The idea that only a few can reach the Celestial Kingdom is another lie. Our Heavenly Father wants each of us to succeed but he won't force us. He is waiting with open arms. All we have to do is reach out and take the help he offers us."
"Easy for you to say! What do you know about it? You've never done anything wrong. You don't need to repent."
"THAT IS ANOTHER LIE! The truth is that we ALL need repentance. Every sin separates us from the Lord. Some sins are obvious while others are more subtle. All require the Savior. Life is not easy for anyone."
I am amazed at the number of times I have gotten shrugs or eye rolls when I make this speech!
It reminds me of the LDS video from the 1990's "The Prodigal Son". It is a modern retelling of the biblical parable. One brother gets into trouble while the other is the "good son" A memorable scene shows this "good" brother complaining about his troublesome brother. He yells at his wife "Nobody ever threw a party for me and I've been the good one!" His wife calmly chastises him, telling him that he needs the Savior just as much as his brother.
When I saw this for the first time, I related strongly to the "good" brother. I struggled to understand how my friends seemed to get away with doing all kinds of rebellious things. It felt unfair. It has taken a long time to understand that I really am just as much a prodigal as anyone. Maybe more so at times. As the wife in the video explains "One of you is trying to repent and the other isn't" That is the real distinction. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father depends less on our mistakes and more what we do about them.
Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave a wonderful talk in 2002 called "The Other Prodigal".