Do you feel imperfect? Like no matter how hard you try you can never measure up?
We all do.
Sometimes this feeling overwhelms us and we assume we have failed at life and there is no hope for us.
Maybe we’ve done something we’re not proud of and feel we can never be worthy of heaven.
This is simply not true.
Our Father in Heaven expects us to do our best, true.
But He knew we would make mistakes. He knew we would not be able to live perfect lives while here on this earth.
That’s why he provided a Savior. That’s why the Savior atoned for our sins. The Savior’s atonement makes up for whatever we are lacking.
Let’s see if we can make this more understandable.
The following is one of my favorite stories. It helped me to understand the Atonement and changed my life.
It’s written by Stephen Robinson and is taken from his book, Believing Christ.
The Parable of the Bicycle
After I had come home one day, I was sitting in a chair reading the newspaper. My daughter Sarah, who was seven years old, came in and said, “Dad, can I have a bike? I’m the only kid on the block who doesn’t have a bike.”
Well, I didn’t think I could afford to buy her a bike, so I tried to stall her by saying, “Sure, Sarah.”
She asked, “How? When?”
I said, “You save all your pennies, and pretty soon you’ll have enough for a bike.” And she went away.
A couple of weeks later as I was sitting in the same chair, I was aware that Sarah was doing something for her mother and getting paid. She went into the other room, and I heard “Clink, clink.” I asked, “Sarah, what are you doing?”
She came out and showed me a little jar all cleaned up with a slit cut in the lid and a bunch of pennies in the bottom. She looked at me and said, “You promised me that if I saved all my pennies, pretty soon I’d have enough for a bike. And, Daddy, I’ve saved every single one of them.”
My heart was filled with love for her. She was doing everything in her power to follow my instructions. I hadn’t actually lied to her. If she saved all of her pennies, she eventually would have enough for a bike, but by then she would want a car! Her needs weren’t being met. So I said, “Let’s go downtown and look at bikes.”
We went to every store in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Finally we found it—the perfect bicycle. She got up on that bike, and she was thrilled. But when she saw how much the bicycle cost, her face fell, and she started to cry. She said, “Oh, Dad, I’ll never have enough for a bicycle.”
So I said, “Sarah, how much do you have?”
She answered, “Sixty-one cents.”
“I’ll tell you what,” I said. “You give me everything you’ve got and a hug and a kiss, and the bike is yours.” She gave me a hug, a kiss—and the sixty-one cents. I paid for the bicycle. Then I had to drive home very slowly because she wouldn’t get off the bike; she rode home on the sidewalk. And as I drove along slowly beside her, it occurred to me that this was a parable for the Atonement of Christ.
We all want something desperately—something far more than a bicycle. We want the celestial kingdom. We want to be with our Father in Heaven. And no matter how hard we try, we come up short. At some point we realize, “I can’t do this!”
This is where we all find ourselves in this journey we call life.
We want to be pure and clean and to return to our Father in Heaven.
But, we’re not perfect. We only have “sixty-one cents.” And it’s not enough.
Here’s where the Atonement comes in and provides real meaning in our lives.
The Savior says, “Give me all you have, and I’ll pay the rest.”
In other words, we do all that we can and try our best; we give our best effort. (Sixty-one cents, a kiss and a hug.)
The Savior makes up for the rest.
That is the gift of the Atonement. This is what our Savior, Jesus Christ has done for us.
Once I understood this concept, my life changed. Everyday, I give my best effort. I know it’s not enough. I know I fall short. But, I’m comforted by the knowledge that I can still return to my Father in Heaven if I repent of the things I do wrong and live my life to the best of my ability.
This knowledge brings joy to my heart.