The Scriptures Teach that Incomplete Repentance is Like “Dog Vomit”

Scripture Commentary

One day, I got bored during personal scripture study. So, I decided to look up weird words and phrases. The weirdest phrase I found in the scriptures was “dog vomit.”

I was surprised that this gross visualization illustrated a profound principle.

Most of us have observed the disgusting scene where a dog throws up, and then licks it back up.

The scriptures teach that a person who repents, and returns to the sin rather than forsaking it, is like a dog licking up its own vomit.  

Pro 26 11: As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly [sin].

2 Pet 2: 20-22:  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein . . . it has happened unto them … the dog is turned to his own vomit again.

3 Nephi 7:8: … the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like a dog to his vomit

In summary, repentance literally means “to turn.”  When we repent we turn away from sin, and turn toward God.  Afterward, if we return back to the sin, and turn away from God, we are like the dog that throws up and then licks up its own vomit.  (See: D&C 82:7)

This is a powerful yucky metaphor for an important gospel truth.

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