Recently Nate asked the question about what would happen to someone who lived a goodly life, but then right before they died committed a sin. My thinking is that this is a probable occurrence for most of us. My understanding is that while in the spirit world, before the judgement day, we can still repent, but it is much harder. This week I thought of an example to explain why it is harder.
Okay, in explaining this, I have to divulge one of my own transgressions. One day I went to a local grocery store to buy food. After purchasing the items, I came back out to the car and put the food in the back of the car. At the time, I had a baby, so I put his car seat in the car. It was hot out, and the parking spot for grocery carts was some distance away. I didn't want to leave my baby in a hot car for the time it would take to walk the cart over and park it in the parking spot. Instead, I just pushed it in front of my car and left it there. I started backing out, and was almost ready to leave when I noticed it rolling forward. In horror I watched as it crashed in to another car, leaving a dent in the door.
I parked again, and got out of the car to inspect the damage. I was really in a quandry about what to do. I must admit that even to this day, I'm not really sure what would have been the right course. But I finally determined that the cart had caused the damage, and the store probably had insurance to cover the repair, so I left. But part of me always wondered if I should have offered to pay for the damage because I'm the one who left the cart sitting in the parking lot.
Later I decided that because I might be guilty of not taking responsibility for that situation, that I would never leave a grocery cart parked out in the open like that again. As time has gone on, it has occurred to me that I missed my chance to pay restitution for the incident. If I had taken the initiative to contact the manager when it happened, I could have paid some money to help with repairs. But because I didn't, I will never know who the owner of the car was, and I can never make restitution to them. What does this mean as it relates to repenting? It doesnt' mean I can't repent, but it makes the restitution part of it much harder.
The same goes for when we die in our sins. I do believe that we can still repent, but because we aren't in the situation any more, and aren't present to make restitution to those we have wronged, repentance is much harder.
In addition, if there were something that we were addicted to in life, we don't have it in the hereafter, so rejecting it and chooseing not to partake of it, isn't an option. Without having the thing present, how can we fully demonstrate that we won't choose it?
In the Book of Mormon, Alma says, "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." Alma 34:32 Now is the best time to repent of our sins. Some people might think that they can wait until their death bed to repent, but how can they truly show they have changed? Repentance is a learning process. Heaven is a place of beauty, and I do believe that "no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of God". Alma 40:26. It is best that we repent now, while we have an easier capacity to do so.