Thoughts on Repentance by Hugh Nibley:
You are either repenting or not repenting and that is, according to the scriptures, the whole difference between being righteous or being wicked.
“Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” in Old Testament and Related Studies, 217
The gospel of repentance is a constant reminder that the most righteous are still being tested and may yet fall, and that the most wicked are not yet beyond redemption and may still be saved. And that is what God wants: “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?”
There are poles for all to see, but in this life no one has reached and few have ever approached either pole, and no one has any idea at what point between his neighbors stand. Only God knows that.
“The Prophetic Book of Mormon,” vol. 8, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, 462
Does not one person need repentance more than another? Ezra and Baruch protested to God that while Israel had sinned, the Gentiles had acted much worse, and asked why they should be let off so much more easily. But God was not buying that argument.
You can always find somebody who is worse than you are to make you feel virtuous. It’s a cheap shot: those awful terrorists, perverts, communists—they are the ones who need to repent!
Yes, indeed they do, and for them repentance will be a full-time job, exactly as it is for all the rest of us.
“Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 1, 217
(paragraphs inserted to enhance online readability)